Hey, look who's back!

Don't get excited, I never stick around long, and for that, I'm sorry. I know it's been a seriously long time since I've posted or updated anything. It's been a seriously long time since I've written anything like this in general, so don't get too angry with me. I didn't give up writing completely, just haven't been feeling the romance as of late. My bad, guys. My bad.

So anyway, this here is written special for Xanthofile, whom I love and worship and adore. If you've never visited his profile here, you need to, because you don't know what you're missing.

As this is special for Xanthofile, I'm still not really sure I want to post it, so don't get too excited. I'll do my best, just warning you now. It's been forever since I've shared my work with anyone but him, so, yeah.

So anyway, here's the first "chapter" to my newest slash; the first I've written in...gosh, at least a year. Go ahead, compare it to my older stuff. Like a completely different person, no joke.



"C'mon, Sunny. Come out with us tonight!"

"I'm really not interested, Kev, okay?" said Sundown with an irritated sigh. He hated being called Sunny. He looked over at the man leaning on his desk, hands all over the once sterile counter top.

"You haven't been out since you started school here. It'll be good for you instead of staying cooped up in that tiny apartment all by yourself all day," pushed Kevin.

"I don't spend all day in the apartment. I'm either here working or at work, working. Please just drop it," he grumbled, carefully opening a sample and transferring a small amount into a vial. He clicked the cap into the trash and closed everything up, moving on to the next.

"Just this one time then, okay? One night and I won't ask you to go out again. C'mon, man, you need it," said Kevin.

"What I need is to get these samples finished and put them in their dishes so I can get them into the incubator. I don't need to go barhopping," Sundown grumbled. Kevin huffed and proceeded to play with some of the implements on the counter, ones that Sundown had painstakingly sterilized specifically for the current job. He growled. "Will you stop fucking with everything!? Goddamnit, Kev, now I have to clean and sterilize this shit all over again. I'll never get the samples finished! You bastard, get out of my lab!" he shouted, angrily throwing down his tools and ripping off his gloves to tend to the messed station.

Kevin jumped backwards, hands in the air. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

"Who fucking plays with lab tools while someone is actively trying to complete a project. Grrrr!" he grumbled angrily, washing the tools and prepping them for sterilization. "Look, if I go out with you this once will you stay the fuck out of my lab? This is the third time you've done this, Kevin, now I'll be behind schedule!"

"I promise I will, all right, I'm sorry, man," said Kevin, slowly backing out of the room. "We're meeting up at High Jinks around ten, all right? See you there!" and he rushed off, narrowly missing the plastic dish chucked at his head.

Sundown sighed and washed his hands again, rubbing in some sanitizer and lotion before he even thought about rubbing tiredly at his face. He turned back to the work at hand and frowned. At least he'd had the forethought to make sure he had extra equipment prepped, but before he could do anything else he had to move all the tools off the workspace and clean it down. He hated that he had friends.

As it turned out, he wasn't finished until nearly ten and even though he desperately wanted to go home, shower, have dinner, and crawl into bed, he also wanted a drink and knew that if he didn't show up Kevin would be in the lab the very next day, screwing up more of his projects. He sighed and headed over, bag and all. It was only a couple blocks from campus and if he went home to drop it off or change, he wouldn't be going back out again.

The problem was, Sundown had expected being a non-traditional student to be easier. He was twenty-six, going on twenty-seven in just over a week, and had spent years on his own, working his rear off, trying to make a good life. With all the students around him just breaching their twenty-first or second year, it was one non-stop party, and more often than not they tried to drag him into it. He blamed himself, partly. No one knew anything but his name.

He whipped out his cell and hit a speed-dial, yawning as he waited for an answer.

"Hello, Patsy Parkinson."

"Hey, Mrs. Parkinson," Sundown said tiredly into the phone.

"Heya, Sundown. Everything all right?"

"Yeah…umm…it looks like I won't be home for another couple hours…" There was no hiding the guilt on his voice.

"Don't you worry about it, dear. Go ahead and take a break, we're all right here," said Patsy, completely honest and totally sweet.

"Are you sure? I mean…I'll come home, never mind, I'm on my way," he said, immediately turning and heading for his apartment.

"Sundown, stop. You deserve a break. I've told you time and again I don't mind if you want to go out once in a while, you should go out, meet some people. You can't keep yourself cooped up, darlin'," she insisted.

Sundown sighed. "It's just…I feel…"

"Don't. You go and have a good time, all right? We're okay here. I promise. You know I'm up til crazy early anyway, so you don't worry about it, I'll be up when you get back," she insisted.

Sundown sighed again and stopped, rubbing his face. "Okay. Okay," he mumbled.

"That'a boy. You go relax. I'll see you later," said Patsy.

Sundown smiled. "Thank you, Mrs. Parkinson."

"Absolutely, darlin'," and the line went dead. Sundown shut his little phone and turned again, heading for High Jinks and letting out another yawn.

Two glasses of gin and tonic later had him more relaxed, despite the raucous of the bar. It was drag night, which meant every queen on campus was out and about, as well as some of the straight guys looking for kicks. Kevin and the others were all over by the stage, already heavily inebriated, cheering on the "girls" during their routines. Sundown just sighed and rubbed his face, sipping at his drink.

"Long day?" asked the bartender. He nodded. "You a student?" He nodded again. "Huh. Don't normally have quiet students in here on a Friday night."

"I hadn't really planned on coming," he mumbled. The bartender nodded and walked away to serve.

"So why don't you go home?" a voice asked, close to his ear. He jumped and stared wide-eyed at the man he hadn't noticed on the bench over, grinning at his startled expression. He had hair to his shoulders, bleached blond, and clothes too tight. Obvious makeup graced his features, but done so in a way that wasn't garish or amateur. Green eyes looked warm despite the cool and teasing grin.

"What?" Sundown asked, rubbing his ear.

"If you're so tired and don't want to be here, why not just go home?" he challenged again, taking a sip of a colourful cocktail.

Sundown frowned and looked at his watch. He'd barely been there an hour. "I suppose that wouldn't be a bad idea," he mumbled and he fished into his pocket for cash. The man's smug expression faded at Sundown's easy disregard and looked startled as he rose to leave. "Hey wait, I'm sorry, I was kidding."

Sundown shrugged. "I should be getting home anyway. Night," he said, gathering his bag to leave. The man reached out and grabbed his shoulder softly.

"No wait. I'll buy your drink, just sit and talk for awhile. I was just teasing," he said, eyes almost pleading.

Sundown sighed and frowned, his annoyed adult face falling into place and earning a sheepish grin from his sudden companion. He rolled his eyes and sat with a huff, leaning heavily on the bar, chin in hand. The bartender plopped another drink in front of him and he stared at it, knowing he shouldn't have a third.

"So, why so glum? It's drag night. Have some fun," said the blond.

Sundown stared at him wearily. "I'm a bit too exhausted for all this," he grumbled.

The man chuckled. "Exhausted? That's a first. My name's Qwin," he said, holding out a hand.

Sundown shook. "Nice to meet you," he mumbled and took a sip of his drink. Qwin waited patiently for a return introduction, fidgeting after a moment when he didn't receive one.

"So, do you like drag shows?"

Sundown quirked a brow and glanced up at him through his tired, black eyes. "What?"

"Drag shows. They can be entertaining. I know some of the girls, we room together. Did you come to watch?" asked Qwin, looking over his shoulder and grinning at the routine on stage.

Sundown frowned. "I came because my friends insisted. They were long drunk when I got here," he said with a shrug, looking towards the stage as well and offering only a sigh.

Qwin smirked. "Maybe the queens aren't your thing. Do you like 'em a little manlier? I could cover that for you," he said, and before Sundown knew what was happening Qwin was up and dancing around him in a not-so-amateur fashion. His hips swayed and locked smoothly, in perfect tempo, body swaying, muscle rippling beneath that ridiculously tight shirt. Sundown blushed heavily and gulped down half his drink.

Qwin grinned at his discomfort. "Why don't you come dance with me?" he asked, hip, then ass, bumping into Sundown's from his slumped posture on the stool. He sat straighter, pulling away from the contact with a sigh. "Eh?"

"I don't dance," Sundown grumbled.

Qwin chuckled. "Then turn around, I'll dance just for you." He moved a little closer, coming into contact once more, and Sundown flinched at the heat.

"Look, could you just stop?" Sundown finally barked, reaching out and not so gently pushing the man away.

Qwin's teasing expression faltered and he held up his hands. "Hey, I'm sorry..."

"No, you're really not. Look, I have to go, good night," he said and he pushed up, tossing some folded bills onto the bar and pulling his bag onto his shoulder.

"Hey man, I'm sorry, you don't have to take off like that-"

"Look just fuck off, all right," Sundown snapped, glaring at Qwin as he grabbed his shoulder to stop him. The blond's eyes widened and he backed off, letting Sundown storm past him and out of the bar, into the cool night air.

He took a deep breath to cool his head, trying to push through the slight haze he'd developed from the three drinks. It had been much too long since he'd had that much alcohol and he really wasn't used to it, his stomach already a little queasy from lack of food beforehand.

It had been much too long since he'd had sex and just couldn't handle another body bumping and grinding against his own. He could still feel it and it just added to his frustration.

The walk home was long enough and cool enough that he was calmer when he reached his destination, no longer as irritated as he'd been sitting at the bar. He hurried through the front lobby, a tiny little hall, the landlady's apartment on one side and her office on the other, and marched up the stairs. He was on the fourth floor, one of three one-room apartments. But before he ventured toward his ridiculously inviting bed, he stopped at the room right next door, Mrs. Parkinson's, and knocked on the door.

A heavy-set, older woman opened the door with a smile, her white hair tucked neatly under a silk scarf, wearing a sleeping gown, a blanket around her shoulders. She gripped a cane tightly in her hand, leaning on it heavily so late in the evening, but her smile was warm and vibrant, framed brightly in her aged dark face.

"Hey, Mrs. Parkinson," Sundown said with a tired smile.

"Heya, Sundown. Did you have a good time?" she asked, moving away from the door and motioning him in.

"No," he said with a sigh.

"Well that's unfortunate. You sure you didn't just sabotage your own evening?"

"I wasn't feeling it," he mumbled, closing the door and following her into her living room. A young girl was fast asleep on Patsy's couch, shoes and bookbag not far off. Bushy brown hair was splayed across a pillow and she was tightly cocooned in a fluffy blanket.

Sundown smiled. "How was she?"

"An angel as always. She's such a smart girl, Sun, you should be very proud," said Patsy, plopping down in her chair and putting up her feet.

"I am," said Sundown, walking over and smoothing a hand over the child's back. She grumbled and buried deeper into the couch. "Penelope. It's time to go home so you can sleep in your own bed, sweetie." She didn't so much as stir. He giggled and smoothed a hand over her head, pushing curls from her face.

"She wanted to wait up for you. Poor baby's exhausted," said Patsy, smiling fondly.

"Yeah, she's so stubborn sometimes." He grabbed her shoes and tucked them into her bag, swinging the little object onto his shoulder before he attempted to unwrap her and haul her up. She was dead weight, as fast asleep as she was. "Thanks so much, Mrs. Parkinson. I really appreciate it."

"Any time, Sundown. I love having her over. She keeps me company. You two can come over for breakfast tomorrow if you like. Save you from having to get up too early to cook," she said, standing again and walking with him to her door.

He smiled. "That sounds really good. Thank you so much."

"Have a good night, Sundown. Rest up," she said.

"You too. Thanks again," he mumbled and he moved slowly down the hall to his door, pausing a moment to boost the six-year-old up enough to free a hand for his key.

The apartment was small, one bedroom, a living room, and tiny kitchen. But it had it's own bathroom and the living room had a door, so he was able to turn it into a second bedroom, blending their kitchen and living room area into one. It was cramped, but doable and rent was cheap. With Penelope and school, Sundown really couldn't work another job to pay for a bigger place and all their needs. Penelope never complained.

He sighed and dropped the bags by the door, wandering into the small bedroom and carefully plopping the girl on her bed. Clothes were changed with practiced care and she was tucked in in minutes. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and made his way out. His first stop was the bathroom to relive himself and take a quick shower, forcing any leftover buzz out of his system and soothing his nerves.

"At least tomorrow's Saturday, Sundown," he sighed to himself, pushing water through his thick and lengthy black hair. Saturday meant sleeping in before groceries, a trip to the playground, and a fun dinner and movie night for Penelope. Sundown generally enjoyed Saturdays.

He sighed as he wiped moisture from the mirror, looking at his tired face, a light dusting of fine black hair along his jaw, dark circles under his eyes. He really needed to sleep more. But between his jobs and studying there was barely any time for sleep. He was lucky he had the energy to attend full time. He brushed his teeth and had a glass of water, chasing it with a couple acetaminophen, just in case. He hadn't had much to drink, but it wasn't often he drank at all, and a hangover definitely wasn't welcome come morning. No doubt Penelope would be up in a few hours time, bouncing off the walls with her endless amount of energy.

The sheets were cool against his skin as he flopped down, snuggling in to the blankets and pulling them to his chin. It didn't take long for sleep to claim him.