A/N: So, a heads up on the POV. It's in something I am calling "Immanent Omniscient" – we can hear what everyone is thinking and feeling at any one time. Just pay attention to who is being talked about.

My Boyfriend Makes Me Feel Inadequate

Chapter One

The figures of two young men were walking though the crowded street. It was a bright day, and the sea was brilliantly blue. The storefronts were hung with banners and bright signs. The taller man, his name was Kieran; and the younger, Tyler. Somewhere around Cooler street the taller one reached out for the other's hand, and the gesture was accepted.

The docks were full of tourists today, and people from around just looking for a good deal on fresh fish. The silvery scales of the fish were unbearably bright, and Tyler examined them closely in their beds of ice. He liked the way it all looked, and the muted blood red where the fish had been cut open. Very unsentimental. He liked that.

"Should we get something to cook for dinner?" Kieran asked. He looked intently. Tyler was clearly mulling it over.

"Yeah," he said. "Let's see if they've got any salmon."

And they did.

Back at Kieran's apartment, he was putting the fish in a pan with lemon, rosemary, and some potatoes. He put it in and looked at Tyler, who was watching the TV. He was sitting on the old, decrepit, cloth-bound couch that Kieran had picked up by the side of the road, for free, when he first moved out of his parents' place. Outside the window next to the oven, the sun was getting low in the sky and just starting to orange up.

Kieran slid around Tyler, arm over shoulder, and leant his head against him. Tyler leant his own back in response, so their heads were touching, Tyler's ear to Kieran's forehead.

"Did you celebrate your birthday with your family at all?" he asked Tyler. Tyler was quiet and at first Kieran didn't think he would respond.

"Yeah," he said. "We went out to a nice restaurant. It was good." He licked his lips unconsciously when he remembered the meal.

"I'm glad," said Kieran. He fiddled with Tyler's hair. It was very smooth and very black.

They were mostly silent after that. When the fish came out of the oven it was deliciously pungent, the fat sitting on the red surface, and Kieran began to cut it up. He hummed to himself softly. When he'd served the fish and potatoes on a couple of plates, he looked back at Tyler, who was still watching TV. The red glare of the setting sun was on his arm.

Kieran truly found Tyler beautiful. Even beyond his delicate, lovely face, and his young and limber body, Kieran found him beautiful. He half-suspected that if Tyler's body were changed and marred somehow, he'd still find him beautiful, like Tyler's very Tyler was clothed in a glowing warmth. Kieran didn't realize or understand what he was thinking, but it was undeniably the attachments of love.

Now, scientists recognize two distinct kinds of love. There is a burst of chemical attraction that comes around once in a while, attaching itself to one person. For six to nine months, just being around this person is like being on drugs. And then it goes away. This is what people usually mean when they say that they are 'in love', as opposed to just 'loving'. That second love is a long-term attachment, a profound sense of rightness. This is how the love we feel for our parents or our dog can be thrown into the same category as our lovers, our husbands and wives. They are perfectly themselves, perfectly valid and worthy as themselves, and no matter what happens, no matter how much we hurt each other or cross our boundaries, there is a bond that can almost never break.

Kieran, with his background in science, was fairly aware that he was experiencing the first kind of love. He could recognize that the high he felt whenever they spoke on the phone, like they did two or three times a week, or on those weekends every month or so that Tyler could come and stay with him, was a short-term chemical reaction that would die with time. Hardly a lonely or friendless man, hardly unexcited by life or lacking in things to do, somehow these times with Tyler were still like bright shining spots in his life.

However, he was as yet unaware that underneath this first 'in love', there was now also a 'love', a deep bond he felt with his younger lover. This is the clothing of rightness, of something beautiful beyond the temporal, that Kieran half-suspected when he looked at Tyler.

So they ate dinner on the couch. They didn't talk much, but that didn't really bother either of them. After they were finished, the plates lying on the floor, Tyler lay down in Kieran's lap. Some movie had started, a made-for-TV one with low production values and an absurd plot. Tyler didn't think about his relationship with Kieran much, but he was feeling very happy to have a solid Kieran behind him holding him up, so attentively massaging his shoulders and neck.

A half-hour or an hour after dinner, they had sex. It was a leisurely affair, neither rushed nor bored. They had become somewhat accustomed to each other's bodies at this point. Tyler still felt a certain giddy rush to let Kieran in, the contortions he had to make so his body was open enough. Kieran felt reluctant at times like this, being reminded not only of his abnormal size but also the age difference between the two of them. These feelings were fleeting though, and he felt well-balanced enough not to be overturned by them.

Afterwards, Kieran was thinking he might even fall asleep, 8:30 pm be damned. He clung to Tyler. But as his eyes were relaxing in their sockets and his breath evening out, Tyler stirred.

"I'm gonna go now," he said.

"What?" Kieran asked, waking up a little. "Can't you stay the night?"

"I could, but I don't want to come up with some lie for my parents. They think I'm visiting my friend right now… It'll be easier this way and it's not a big difference."

"Well, if that's what you want," Kieran said, sighing and removing his hands from around Tyler. His body felt really sleepy but he didn't want to just lie down while Tyler left. "Can I give you a ride?"

"No, I'll just take the interurban," Tyler said. He was putting his clothes back on. Will your parents smell me on you? Kieran thought, with a little relish.

Kieran just pulled on his boxers to see Tyler to the door. Tyler turned around at the doorjamb, the warm summer night not perceptibly cooler than the house, and they kissed. It wasn't passionate, it was more sorry coming from Tyler and I'll miss you coming from Kieran. With that, he was gone, and Kieran closed the screen door with a little thwack.

The streets were quiet but lively, people sitting in outdoor cafés or restaurants, the bright lights of the main road a deep contrast with the dark side-roads. The bus station was right at the centre of the small sea-side town where Kieran lived, and it was into this large elaborate building that Tyler entered and paid for his bus ticket.

He waited on the hard plush chair. The cool concrete boarding area was less cheerful than the street outside, but Tyler preferred it this way. His was not feeling cheerful.

My boyfriend makes me feel inadequate he was thinking. He takes my shit with a smile. If I were him I'd have gotten entirely pissed off, and yelled about being left right after sex like that. But he just accepts it, like some kind of… amazing human being.

Tyler was feeling distraught now. He liked Kieran… and didn't want to stop seeing him. But every time they were together, he felt this strange feeling. An abrasive scrubbing in his heart. A prickly blanket thrown on his skin. A buzzing in his ear.

The bus arrived. Tyler sat near the back, looking out the window. As they passed through the country, he would see one or two farmhouses out some ways, a light on in the kitchen or something. It felt much later than it was.

When he arrived at home, he toed his shoes off at the door. "You were out late," his mother remarked, but he just went up to bed.

A/N: So this is my new story. It's going to be long, but I can't say how long. It'll be 'normal' though, unlike my depressing and (in the case of Ashes and Ghost) disorienting ones. I think it will be quite the enjoyable ride.

You'd think Tyler would be easy to type, but I ended up typing Yler nearly every time. Blasted keyboard.

To fend off future questions, this isn't set anywhere specific. Or anywhere real, I should say. I love architecture and urban planning, and my dreams frequently have highly specific and imaginative architecture. Not to mention those waking dreams, movies and video games and such, which also influence this story.

Now I realize this story is a little too much 'tell' and not enough 'show', but hang with me. I'm trying a new style and it'll take a while before I get really good at it, I bet.

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