A/N: Hey! I'm not dead, I promise. Sorry for the wait, but you know, life gets in the way, blah blah blah... It's not that this chapter was particularly difficult to write, I just haven't had much time recently, especially since I took a workshop last semester where I focused on my main novel. Naturally, this side project had to take a back seat for a while.

Excuses aside, I'll try to update a little more consistently. No promises; I'm only human.

-C Diana Kelly

The snow deepened from a few inches to nearly a foot as December passed slowly by. Midterms were in full swing for the juniors, and the upcoming holiday break wasn't making the month pass any faster. Instead, the clock ticked in mocking loudness as Seth and Lee sat side-by-side in history class, pencils scratching away at the midterm papers. Lee felt his heart beat in his throat as a twinge of anxiety momentarily blanked out his memory. He never recalled being this nervous for a test before, but perhaps it was simply because Seth was sitting so near.

At that moment he glanced at the clock, which boasted a full twenty minutes until the end of class. Looking back at his test packet, Lee realized he had only two pages to go, and he felt a little better. He took an opportunity to glance over at Seth while the teacher's back was turned. The normally relaxed and thoughtful face was contorted in concentration, black eyebrows furrowed and pale lips muttering silently. Lee smiled and returned to his own test, remembering that Seth had refused to study the night before.

Normally, quiet environments like this would set Lee's anxiety off, but he managed to keep things under control for test-taking. Unlike Seth, he understood that school was important for his future, despite not knowing what he wanted to do with his life. As much as he wanted to attend college, Lee was certain he didn't have enough money to pay for it, even with financial aid. His family wasn't very rich, so he was left with little inheritance to cover his living costs. As for the orphanage—they were as strapped for cash as Lee was. There was no use begging for money they didn't have.

With ten minutes to go, Lee finished up his test and turned the papers over. He mulled over the future, which was not something he usually thought about. He was often too busy worrying about his mental state to entertain ideas about his career. And that was something else that concerned him: what if he wasn't able to get a job because of his illness? Lee frowned and quietly tapped his pencil eraser on the desk. He never even considered how he would function in normal society while dealing with this black cloud over his head.

"Five more minutes!" the teacher called out. There was a collective intake of breath around the classroom, and several panicked students glanced at the clock to confirm the time they had left. Lee heard Seth fidget slightly as his pencil flew across the final page.

Seth threw his pencil down just as the bell rang. He and Lee bolted from the room before their teacher collected the tests, meeting in the hallway just before their next classes.

"Guess I'll see you later," Seth said, massaging his sore wrist. "Don't know how I'll get through another midterm, though. I'm exhausted."

"You'll do fine," Lee assured him. "Isn't pre-calc your last class? You're good at that."

"As long as I don't have to write out any more essays," Seth muttered.

Lee smiled and pulled Seth into a secluded corner behind some lockers. He glanced around to make sure no one was paying attention, then placed a small kiss on Seth's cheek. "Just think about later," Lee whispered.

This created just the reaction he was hoping for. Seth's pale face flushed a deep red in astonishment, but before he could respond, Lee turned swiftly away and set off for his next exam.

Seth sped through his math test with confidence. Part of that confidence was knowing he could ace this exam with no problems, but he was also filled with a new strength to get through the class period. Even as his skilled hand sketched out logarithmic functions, Seth found himself thinking over Lee's sudden boldness. And even the coldly logical numbers in front of him couldn't distract him from the surprising heat of Lee's soft lips on his cheek. Seth paused to place his left hand on his face, and found himself smiling like an idiot until the bell rang.

Meanwhile, As Lee finished up with his English test, he similarly felt a strange fire within him. Somehow, the combination of working through midterms and thinking about the future created a comfortable feeling in his chest. Despite his uncertainty about the future, Lee was content with his present—with the life he had stumbled into with pure blind luck.

But he was also excited for an uncertain future, as strange as that sounds. Now that he really thought about it, Lee would be happy with whatever may come as long as he had his singular beacon of light to illuminate the way ahead. So long as he had a supportive arm around his shoulders, he could be comfortable navigating his future.

He put his pencil down as the school day came to an end, counting the minutes until he and Seth were free. He didn't know exactly what he had in mind for the rest of the day, but as soon as he caught sight of his boyfriend, Lee felt a squirm of happiness in his stomach.

"Glad that's over," Seth said when Lee walked over to his car. As usual, Seth opened the passenger door for Lee. "Tests are such a drag."

Lee shrugged. "It wasn't so bad. How was your math exam?"

"Easy," Seth replied with a confident smirk. "Especially since I had a performance boost."

He leaned over and placed small kisses over Lee's face. Lee laughed in surprise and tried to playfully swat him away, but he ended up capturing Seth's arms and reciprocating. For a while they both forgot they were still in the school parking lot, and Seth blushed before driving away.

As soon as the boys settled comfortably in Seth's bedroom, a fresh bout of snow started falling from the cobalt sky. They watched from the window as the tiny flakes fell faster and faster until a diagonal sheet of snow obscured the view. The news had mentioned that a fierce blizzard was working its way through the city, and it wouldn't let up until the following afternoon. Seth was anxiously hoping for a snow day so he could miss another grueling day of exams.

The afternoon passed slowly by as Seth and Lee talked and snacked on some popcorn. A TV movie played quietly in the background, but neither of them paid much attention. Mrs. Parker had called from work informing Seth that the blizzard would only get worse, and that Lee was welcome to stay overnight; a snow day was highly possible anyway, and Mrs. Parker didn't want her son to worry about driving Lee home. Meanwhile, she was planning on staying at work for as long as possible, and if the weather was too bad she would spend the night at the nearby hotel. And Mr. Parker spent long hours at the office no matter what, so Seth wouldn't have to worry about running into him any time soon.

So when the movie ended and the boys fell into contented silence, Seth turned to Lee with expectant curiosity. The atmosphere in the room was palpable, full of electric excitement and nervousness. Lee's expression showed both of these.

"Are you okay?" Seth asked.

Lee nodded slowly, feeling a wave of nerves well up in his stomach. He didn't quite know how to broach the subject on his mind. "Just thinking," he said, letting out a breath.

Seth inched closer and placed his arm around Lee's shoulders. They sat in silence for a moment more.

Then Lee regained his courage from earlier. "Actually, can we talk?"

Seth nodded. He didn't get any negative vibes from the question, so he wasn't worried.

Lee turned to him and bit his lip. "You know how you mentioned discussing 'boundaries' a few weeks ago? When you first asked me out?"

"Yeah." Seth felt his mouth go dry. "Why, did I do something to make you uncomfortable?"

"No, it's not that. Actually, more like the opposite." Lee blushed a deep red.

It took a few seconds for Seth to realize what he was saying. "You want to…?"

Lee nodded, feeling the flame burning within him again, dissipating any nervousness. "I just think we should…talk about it first."

"Yeah," Seth agreed. His heart beat heavily in his chest, like his body was anticipating something. But this anticipation was very different from anything he felt in the past. His brain wasn't dominated by simple desire; respect and caution reined in any impulse.

Lee paused. It was easy enough to suggest the possibility of sex, but he didn't know how to explain what he was okay with and what he wasn't. He gave Seth a confused look, trying to convey that he was clueless about these talks and needed help.

Seth smiled reassuringly. He wasn't clueless, so he started the conversation. "Well, just let me know what you're comfortable with. Like, how far do you want to go? Is there anything off-limits?"

Lee thought for a second, going over the possibilities. "Um, most things are fine, just…" He muttered something, feeling self-conscious.


"No butt stuff," Lee repeated. He fidgeted and blushed.

Seth took his trembling hands and held them tightly. "I figured you wouldn't want that. That's perfectly fine."

"Well, not yet at least," Lee added. "I might get more comfortable with the idea, but it will take a while…"

"You don't have to. There's no 'homosexual contract' forcing everyone to do anal. Some guys don't like it at all."

Lee smiled, feeling better. He knew Seth would have more experience and understanding about how it all worked, and that calmed him a little. Not to mention the fact that Seth was so respectful of Lee's boundaries…he didn't know how he managed to get such a considerate boyfriend.

Seth turned off his TV, leaving them with nothing but the howling of the blizzard as background noise. He had done this plenty of times, but this was the first time he felt so nervous since he lost his virginity a year ago. In a sense, this time was completely new to him because Lee was the first boyfriend he ever had—the first guy who spent innocent nights in his bed, who went on romantic dates with him, who laughed when they acted silly together, who cried on his shoulder and revealed an endearing vulnerability. Lee was the first boy whose face he had memorized, whose scars he had traced until he could draw them in his sleep. He took a shaking breath and tried not to show that he was just as nervous as his boyfriend.

Lee, meanwhile, trusted Seth completely and therefore allowed his anxious shell to fall away. His heart thudded like a drum. The atmosphere in the room changed again, this time heavy with the anticipation fueled by dual flames. Lee wrapped his arms around Seth's neck and kissed him slowly. The warmth in his chest travelled throughout his body, finally stopping somewhere around his navel. He felt himself reclining as Seth pulled him down onto the bed. Seth was hovering over him, propped on his elbows, and Lee instinctively spread his legs so Seth could position himself.

Seth inched forward, closing up the space between them. He placed one hand on Lee's face and smiled, taking in the expectant glow of the green eyes, and returned a deeper kiss. Lee's mouth tasted sweeter than usual. Seth broke away to see the dilation of pupils and flushed cheeks. Then he gently ran his thumb between Lee's lips, opening them so he could slip his tongue in and savor the taste.

All of this was done slowly, deliberately, until Lee could barely stand it anymore and moaned softly into Seth's mouth. Seth withdrew his hand and replaced it at Lee's waist, where it slipped underneath the shirt and pushed it impatiently upwards. Lee rushed to assist by sitting up and removing his shirt completely. As expected, Seth's eyes scanned sadly over the old scars, but returned to Lee's gaze immediately. Seth lowered his eyelids and ran his fingers along the exposed chest, then bent down and grazed his lips on scarred pale skin. Lee shivered from the touch. He watched as Seth trailed small kisses down to his bellybutton. The heat coiled in his stomach extended farther south, and he gasped at the sudden wave of pleasure. Seth smiled at Lee's reaction as he pulled off his own shirt.

Lee was getting impatient with desire, but Seth held back, teasing responses from him. He lifted Lee's chin and nipped softly at his neck, and soon enough Lee was panting and gripping at Seth's back. Then Seth ran his hands down Lee's sides to his hips, rubbing them until they bucked in frustration. He took that as a cue to undo jeans that had become tight. Lee helped by shoving them down completely, exposing his underwear and legs. Seth continued placing small kisses along Lee's leg, pausing when he reached the end of the boxer briefs. He looked up once in case Lee seemed hesitant, but saw only raw desire in the dilated eyes.

Seth knew exactly what to do. His own jeans were getting tight, but he knew that this moment was for Lee—that Lee deserved to know what it felt like. He thought about Lee's impatience, and how his pale face turned bright red at the slightest touch, and how hungry he seemed for something he never experienced. Then his thoughts turned darker, and he remembered Lee's prior shyness and loneliness, how he was friendless for so long and didn't even know how it felt to be wanted. Finally, before he could stop himself, Seth thought about Lee's one request for tonight—his one boundary—and remembered why it existed in the first place. He tried not to let the sadness show on his face, and instead ran a finger along the waistband of Lee's boxers to pull them down.

Lee gasped softly at the sudden exposure, but he wasn't embarrassed. His current state and complete trust in Seth prevented any self-consciousness he might have felt. Still, underneath the glow of arousal, Lee realized that this was the first time Seth saw him naked.

With barely any hesitation, Seth continued to graze his lips along Lee's thighs, slowly and tortuously moving upwards. Lee could hardly bear it, and he looked away as the blood rushed down and caused an almost painful throb. He tried in vain to stifle his loud panting and occasional moans, but Seth was intent on making him even louder. Without looking down he felt the hot mouth move closer and closer until it reached sensitive skin.

Seth was determined as his lips continued reverently along the heated flesh. He was determined to take his time and do as much as he possibly could to satisfy Lee. He used both his hands and his mouth to deliver all the pleasure that his boyfriend deserved.

Lee lasted thirty seconds. In the aftermath, as he lay in Seth's arms and tried to control his shaking legs, he wiped unconsciously at his wet eyes.

"Are you…crying?"

"Huh?" Lee sniffed. "Oh, don't worry. This always happens after…"

Seth smiled and pulled him closer. "That's adorable."

They lay in silence as the blizzard wind howled outside. Seth gazed lovingly at the exhausted boy in his arms and thought about how beautiful Lee was in the final moments. He had looked up when Lee started twitching and stared, mesmerized, as the small boy squeezed his eyes shut and cried out. Lee's body convulsed, overcome by the waves of pleasure, and Seth felt a hand grip at his hair as he dutifully stayed in position until the end. Lee seemed shocked afterwards, when Seth swallowed and resurfaced with nothing left in his mouth. But now, as his fingers trailed through messy red hair, Seth realized that Lee tasted much better than his former sexual partners.

In the end he had to undo his jeans because of the strain of his erection, solely from watching his boyfriend's reactions. Lee offered to help after he finished, but Seth was adamant that tonight was for Lee only. It was still at half-mast, but he didn't feel as sexually frustrated as he expected. Seth was amazed at how fulfilled he felt without his own release—how the simple act of satisfying his boyfriend provided an outlet for his desire.

Lee fell asleep within minutes. His soft snores added white noise to the boisterous wind, which lulled Seth to sleep shortly after.