"Son-of-bitch!" Brendan's voice bounced off the lockers and tile walls, amplifying the curse and the ones that followed, his fingers crumpling the paper and violently tossing it, though unintentionally, toward a cowering freshman. The rail-thin bare-chested boy picked up the offending item and discarded it in a bin nearby, then scurried off with hardly a glance up to the fuming sandy-blonde football player.

Mitch strolled over, towel wrapping his hips, laughing while ruffling his wet dark hair with another stark white gym towel, "Who's pregnant?"

Brendan looked up with confused blues before his eyes relaxed into a glare, "No one, you dick. That fuckin' bitch Ms. Gregory reported my fuckin' Trig grade to fuckin' Coach Hauser. Now he's fuckin' threatening to fuckin' bench me if I don't pull the fuckin' thing up." Mitch continued to laugh at Brendan's fervent use of the f-bomb, something he hardly did unless seriously pissed off. Obviously, he was.

"That shouldn't be a big deal. I thought you were some kind of math genius,' Mitch's eyes widened in a mocking stare. He pulled shorts on beneath his towel, letting the sodden article drop to the floor. Brendan huffed, head falling into open hands.

"The math's not the problem. Fuckin' Hauser's demanding I get a tutor." Mitch caught a laugh in his throat, but it soon spilled out anyway.

"Eat me, Mitch,' Brendan stalked off toward the showers, yanking a towel from one of the random stacks around the locker room.

"Who'd you get?" Mitch asked, only a hint of mocking in his voice as they walked toward the library after the last bell rang for the day.

"Don't know yet. I have to go to the math lab, Gregory said whomever she assigned me would be there,' Brendan rolled his eyes, pissed at the whole situation. At his fucking teachers and his fucking coach and the goddamn unnamed tutor, ugh…completely ignoring the fact that it was his own fault for letting it go this far. "This is bullshit, man,' Brendan all but whined to his highly amused and dark headed friend.

"Hey, man, go do what you have to to stay off the bench." Mitch clapped a shoulder on his friend's lean shoulder. With a chuckle, the brunette strolled in the other direction with a casual goodbye, leaving Brendan alone by the library door.

He brushed sandy-blonde hair from his cobalt blues, sighing in resignation while pushing the heavy-ass wooden door open. The librarian hardly glanced up from the numerous books she sorted, not even long enough to see the obligatory grin with which Brendan greeted her. This is such bullshit. The sour thought lingered with him all the way toward the back wall of the library, lined with several doors each dedicated to separate subject labs for tutoring, research, and other help.

The math lab sat to the far left, the door almost shoved into a corner. Brendan opened it quietly, trying not to disturb anyone working either in the library or in the lab. A calm, but assertive voice flew out of nowhere, startling him, "You're late."

"By thirty seconds,' Brendan shot back at the familiar raven-haired male sitting behind one of the work tables, the blonde's annoyance swelling to new heights.

"Plus four minutes,' Jason didn't give so much as a glance up from his magazine.

"Whatever, man." Brendan just wanted this over with, so he dropped his bag, settling in the seat across from the snarky brunette.

Though not the most popular, Jason Brayer still ranked high on the social hierarchy of high school standards. The customary over-achiever, he knew pretty much everyone simply because he was involved with nearly every school project and club possible; theatre, the yearbook, the newspaper, writing, photography, art, music, honors classes, tutoring, hell even sports, that is if tennis or swimming could be considered sports. Brendan didn't though, not really. Yeah, sure, skill needed to be involved but it seemed pointless if the only potential for injury was skinning your knee on the court or swallowing too much chlorine water. The two had never been friends, or really even social, especially since their respective groups of allies avoided each other like the plague.

Brendan gazed at the guy, who seemed all too involved in that magazine, for several minutes his patience wearing thinner and thinner. "Are we going to…?" Brendan let his words trail off.

"You don't need tutoring." Jason remarked, turning a page and falling silent again.

"Awesome,' Brendan smiled standing and shouldering his book bag, ready to exit.

"You're just lazy." The blonde stared down, incredulously, at the nonchalant Jason, aimlessly flipping through glossy pages, anger rising in his chest with each subsequent page turn by those long pale fingers.

"Hey, fuck you, Jason." Brendan popped off with anger laced edges.

Jason finally looked up with bright green eyes, "You know what you're doing in Trig, and you ace nearly every test, but you haven't done any assignments in weeks. So, you're either bored…or lazy."

Brendan couldn't respond. The arrogant raven was right, but that didn't mean he liked it or would even admit it. Jason continued, ignoring the red flush and heated eyes from his counterpart, "If you want to stay off the bench, you're going to have to make up the work. I'd help, but like I said you don't need it. What you do need is someone to keep you on task. That's where I come in, though I'm not thrilled about being a babysitter." Those bright greens cast down again while the same long pale fingers rifled through the backpack seated next to, as Mitch called him, the Queer Boy Wonder, finally he pulled out a manila folder, "So sit down and start working."

Automatically, Brendan grasped the folder in Jason's outstretched hand. Inside were a number of worksheets and a list of all the assignments he'd 'forgotten' to turn in. Fuck, Brendan hadn't realized there were so many, but it suddenly made sense why his grade suddenly tanked after just a few weeks. Any other math class, he'd been able to get by on test scores and occasional assignments, but fuckin' Ms. Gregory was an asshole.

Sitting down, Brendan begrudgingly pulled out his Trig book, paper, and pencil and set to working. Jason relaxed back into his chair, resuming his aimless meandering through the magazine. Bright green eyes scanning the words, a pale pink face rested on the palm of his long-fingered hands. When one of those fingers grazed thoughtfully across Jason's lips, Brendan noticed how red the flesh was, though he didn't know why the color caught his attention.

After an hour of numbers, triangles, sines, cosines, tangents and enough math to make Einstein vomit, Jason's cool voice sounded, "It's 3:52."

"Shit!" Brendan exclaimed, shoving his things haphazardly into his bag. He had practice in less than ten minutes and it took him nearly that long just to suit up.

"Don't worry. Coach Hauser told me that the make-up work comes first. As long as you're on field by 4:10, he's fine if you're a little late."

Brendan relaxed a little, but still threw his bag across his shoulder, "Um…thanks, I guess,' the blonde commented turning to leave.

"When do you want to work on your English Lit.?"

Brendan froze, "What are you talking about?"

Smoothly Jason slid the magazine into his bag, buttoning and slinging it over his shoulder as he stood, "Mr. Howe talked to Hauser. He said you're struggling. Hauser asked me to help you with the English Lit, too, which I know you'll actually need help with. I thought you knew."

Brendan didn't know and it more than pissed him off that not only were his teacher's discussing his scholastic shortcomings with the overconfident brunette in front of him instead of the student in question, but also that he may have to spend more time with the prick. "No, I didn't."

"Sorry, I would've mentioned it earlier if I'd known they hadn't told you. So, when do you want to work on it?"

Brendan's brain fogged, "Uh, I don't know. I'll have to get back to you."

"Fine. Here," Jason stretched two fingers toward Brendan, a small black card pinched between them, "It's got my number. Just call and leave a message when you figure it out."

The asshole has a business card? Really? Brendan took the small card in hand as Jason scooted out the door without another word. When he looked at the pitch black tag, a subtle flaring wave design caught the light. Jason's name, number and email were printed in blood red but nothing else.

"Seriously?" Brendan asked himself, chuckling and sticking the card in his front pocket.

"Really? That sucks dude, spending time with the Queer Boy Wonder." Mitch asked breathlessly, voice wavering with the effort of sprints, disbelieving Brendan's bad luck.

"What's that got to do with anything?" Brendan continued, equally winded, "I could give a shit about that, but he's an asshole."

"Probably, because he hasn't been in one lately," Mitch chuckled heartily.

Brendan laughed, scoffing at his best friend, "You're disgusting dude."

Mitch just laughed, "You coming tonight? Sara will be there," referencing the team's plans to meet at the beach.

Brendan thought for a moment, wanting to go but couldn't bring himself to accept, "I can't. I really need to get this Trig shit done. The sooner the better, then I don't have to deal with Boy Wonder."

Coach Hauser yelled from the sidelines, screaming profanities. The boys picked up pace. Coach didn't let up either, all through practice. He pushed, shouted, blew his whistle demanding the team double the effort, the speed, the accuracy. Sprints, up-downs, running plays, jogs, straining muscles and running until their lungs burned. Two hours later Mitch, Brendan, and the rest spilled into the locker rooms drenched in sweat with exhausted muscles that would be sore tomorrow. The heated showers helped the ache, but Brendan knew it would only renew at practice the next day.

A couple of the varsity players grabbed a freshman JV player, wrestling him to the shower floor in typical hazing fashion with shouts and laughter. They covered him in every liquid they could find; shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, even liquid heat. The smaller boy frantically tried to rinse the burning rub from his ass cheeks with little success. He moaned and hissed the more it penetrated the delicate skin. Brendan shook his head and just walked out, knowing the newbie would only catch worse later, all in the name of teamwork.

Several minutes later, Brendan toweled off, dressed and headed for the door in a flurry of 'later' and 'see ya, man.' Brendan was exhausted, just the walk to his car seemed to sap what little energy he had left. He suspected his Trig homework would probably suffer the consequences.

Fifteen feet from his black sports coup Brendan saw Jason standing near it, almost as if the green-eyed brunette could sense that Brendan had just decided to slack off tonight. The sandy-haired blonde closed the distance, "What do you want now?"

Jason cocked an eyebrow at the curt question, "Excuse the intrusion, stud," he leaned on the word, biting with his teeth, "but I need to talk to you about your English Lit tutoring."

"I told you, I'll have to get back to you," Brendan brushed passed him, unlocking and opening the driver's side door. Even through Jason's thick gray sweater, he could feel the hard abdomen beneath graze his arm. Guess, swimming and tennis had their bodily benefits. Whatever.

"Yes, I heard you, but the fact is I'm not doing this out of some saccharine kindness or pseudo-school spirit, so I'm not at your beckon call. I have obligations and other responsibilities too, than babysitting you and checking your homework."

"You talk too much," Brendan didn't know where the comment came from, but still thought it appropriate, "What's your point?"

Jason's brows screwed together, a mix of confusion and annoyance crossing his eyes, "My point is, things have come up that I thought I could work around to accommodate you, but it turns out I can't. So, if you want my help, then you'll have to follow my schedule."

"Someone else can help with the English. It's no big."

"There's no one else," he stated simply.

Brendan felt his face fall, then his cobalt blues glared, "Well, I guess I don't have a choice do I?"

"Guess not."

Tossing his backpack across the driver's seat, the frustrated blonde asked, "When?"

"I have Tuesdays and Thursdays open, but not until seven 'o clock."


"Unless you want to wait until next week, but I hardly think your grade can afford it." There seemed to be mocking in his voice, but Brendan couldn't decipher Jason's facial expression.

An exasperated huff flew into the air, crystallizing in the coolness, "Where?"

"My house will be best," Jason stated, readjusting his bag, "My address is on the back of the card I gave you, just hold it up against a light."

"What?" Brendan asked, thoroughly confused.

"Give me the card," Jason grunted, holding out a hand. When Brendan gave it over, Jason lifted it against the sinking sun and an address quickly came into focus. Point made, Jason handed the card back to Brendan before moving off into the deserted parking lot toward a black sports coup similar to his own.

"Asshole," Brendan muttered, sliding into his car.

"You're early," Jason's eyes widened, slightly shocked, as he opened the door to the blonde football player.

"Didn't want to get scolded again," Brendan stated simply. Jason motioned for him to come inside, dressed in light blue jeans with worn knees and frayed pant legs. The white cotton v-neck snuggly clinging, showing a lean chest and the taut abdomen Brendan had accidently grazed earlier today. Without his shoes, Jason lost a couple of inches next to Brendan.

It was strange to see the Boy Wonder so causal. Not that he dressed in khakis and hush puppies, but dark sweaters and dark wash jeans with dress shoes were the most casual Brendan had ever seen the guy before. Jason obviously took pride in his appearance, like most guys, but his was more deliberate than average. Brendan felt a little more comfortable in his torn jeans and black t-shirt.

"I didn't scold. I mocked, and I was right anyway." Jason stated stepping away, Brendan following close behind. The foyer blended seamlessly into a living room full of large dark furniture. It looked strangely similar to Brendan's house, though this one seemed to actually be lived in as opposed to the immaculate showroom that his mother constantly fussed over at home.

"Yeah, whatever."

"Clever. Careful with the witty retorts, you'll sprain something."

Brendan ignored Jason's snarky rejoinder and simply settled next him on the floor behind a glass coffee table littered with papers and books. "Let's just get started, since you seem to think I'm too stupid to understand English."

Jason stilled, face sincere, "I don't think you're stupid. Just lazy."

Brendan scoffed, "Whatever."

Jason laughed. It was a nice laugh Brendan noticed.

The brunette began clearing the random assortment of papers from the table as Brendan fished his notebook out of his bag. He couldn't help but notice the drawings mixed with notations, plus pages and pages of purely written words. Jason snapped a folder shut on a disorganized pile before setting it on the floor beside him, furthest from Brendan.

"What's all that?" The curiosity was genuine. Just the drawings alone piqued his interest, greatly detailed and numerous.

Jason tossed his shaggy black hair back from his bright green eyes before sighing, "Just one of many projects. Did you bring 1984?"


"The book we're reading for English Lit?" A smirk curled Jason's reddish lips, inciting Brendan to match it.

"Yes." Brendan pointedly displayed the paperback, "See."

"How far have you gotten?" Jason asked the most natural question.

Brendan blushed, eyes forced to his legs tucked beneath the glass table. Jason snorted, smirking again, "Have you read anything?"

"No. I've been busy." The blonde spurred in defense. It was true. He had been busy, between school, practice, his job, and Sara. Well, mainly Sara…but that was neither here nor there.

"I'm busy too, jockstrap," Jason chided, shuffling to his feet, "I still manage to get all my work done. Do you want something to drink?"

Brendan just stared, dazed then, "Sure. What do you have?"

Jason just huffed, "Just come look."

The kitchen was huge, appliances and all. An island in the middle sported a sink and a stove, while three of the four walls were covered in opaque glass cabinets and black granite counters spotted with another sink and other appliances. A table and chairs matching the motif set off to the right, a delicate tasteful chandelier overhead. Jason strolled to the stainless steel fridge, popping it open and grabbing something from the inside then letting the door close again. A Starbucks Mocha Frappaccino.

Shaking the bottle, his cool tone called Brendan back from his amazement, "Help yourself."

Thankfully, there was soda. Brendan grabbed a Pepsi from the monstrous fridge before following Jason back to the living room. Settled back in their original seats, Jason offered to catch Brendan up so that he wouldn't stray too far behind as the class moved further into the book. The next two hours were spent discussing, actually more like listening to Jason discuss, mind-numbing details about social commentary on socialism and government control vs. anarchy. Brendan struggled to comprehend what the hell those red lips were saying, but finally gave up and simply tried to stay awake.

"Are you even listening?"

"Huh?" Brendan's eyes popped open. Shit. Did he fall asleep?

"Never-mind. Just read the cliff's notes and we'll work from there on Tuesday." Jason stood, bending to bookmark his copy. Stretching his, obviously sleep-heavy arms, Brendan reached as far as him muscles would let him, fingers grazing against a rough material. Jason shot up, looking down at the blushing blonde who'd just quickly pulled his arm back.

"Did you just touch my ass?" Jason laughed.

Brendan's face felt hot. He'd give anything not to answer that question, right now. "It was an accident. I was stretching."

Jason just resumed gathering their study materials, a smile curving those red lips, "You know what Freud said; 'There are no accidents.'"

What the fuck? Brendan couldn't form a response, not without a whole lot of implications that would be very uncomfortable to even think about. He could only say, "Whatever."

Reviews much appreciated. Let me know if I should continue, tho I probably will anyway. Thanks, kids.