AN: Standalone short story unrelated to any of my others. Not sure where it really came from. I tried a more minimal-style here, curious how it worked out.

Please note, the at one point in particular, two main characters partake in very risky behavior; I am in no way advocating this.

Jacob uncurled his fingers from around Bishop's wrist and hip. He straightened, zipped his fly, and fastened his buckle. He smiled and ran his hand through his hair, looking down at Bishop, whose shoulders heaved with his panting. There was something incredibly sexy about Bishop's position: bent over a crate, braced against elbows and knees, his pale, bare ass hanging out of his jeans as his ebony head hung, almost touching the crate. Jacob leaned over Bishop to kissed the back of his neck as he tugged the other boy's pants upwards. "C'mon babe, someone's gonna come out to find out why the delivery truck is still here."

"You asshole," Bishop groaned. "I can hardly feel my legs."

Jacob grinned and slid his hand beneath Bishop's chin and pulled his head back. "You sure sounded like you were enjoying yourself."

Bishop's jaw tightened, but he didn't pull away from the kiss.

Jacob helped him stand and grinned as he did up Bishop's pants. He pushed his thigh against Bishop's groin. "I like putting you together again almost as much as I like getting into your pants."

Bishop's mouth twisted in that scowl that Jacob loved so much because it only served to conceal a grin. "You just like to control everything around you."

"Don't you know it, sexy." He looked Bishop up and down before he pulled Bishop flush against him and kissed him hard. Bishop pressed firmly into Jacob, clearly weak in the knees.

Jacob ran his knuckles down the side of Bishop's face. "Same time next week?"

Bishop sighed, his eyes half-lidded as his limbs became steadier in Jacob's arm. "Assuming Mr. Shaffer orders again."

Jacob grinned, sliding his hand between them to cup Bishop lightly. "I'll make sure he does."

Bishop pressed his lips together in another version of an attempt to hide his amusement. "If you weren't so good for business I wouldn't put up with you."

"You mean put out for me, don't you?"

"That too."

Jacob snorted. "Whore."

"Says the self-centered son of a bitch."

Jacob laughed. "See you next week."

"Next week."

Jacob watched the other youth ease off the elevated dock, then head to the cab of his little farm truck. He couldn't help the stupid grin on his face as the truck pulled away. He would never argue he wasn't a self-centered son of a bitch, but even when Bishop said words like 'shithead' all Jacob heard were tender words they never spoke to each other.

He grinned and turned back. Whistling, he began to haul in the delivery from Sunny Hills Farms. It was a bit twisted, but sometimes, it was a bit of a turn-on, putting out the produce on the floor knowing that Bishop likely touched many of items.

"How's it going?" asked the owner of Shaffer Grocers.

Jacob looked up and smiled at the man. "Pretty good, Dad. Just getting the delivery in."

Peter Shaffer nodded, wiping his hands on his painfully archaic butcher's apron. "Good. When you're finished putting it out, you can take off. You have a test tomorrow, don't you?"

Jacob rolled his eyes as he smiled as he carefully placed a large zucchini in the appropriate display bin. "Why don't you remember my schedule when it's dates I want to be out for?"

Peter shook his eyes with a little smile. "You know what I think of the girls you take out."

"So you sabotage me on purpose?" Jacob ribbed.

"I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made."

Every measure of humor shriveled and turned to the sharp edge of broken glass. "You mean mistakes like me."

"Don't do that." Peter pinched the bridge of his nose. "You know I love you."

Jacob snorted. "You just wouldn't 'make that same mistake again'."

"Your life would have been better too if I had been prepared to raise you."

"Whatever." Jacob dumped the rest of the zucchini into the bin. "I'm going home to study."


Jacob just waved over his shoulder and continued to storm off. No one would ever say that Jacob Evans—his mother's name—couldn't throw a tantrum with the best of the four-year-olds.

"Please, sweetheart, straighten your tie."

Bishop looked down and said nothing as he adjusted the knot for the fiftieth time, not because there was anything wrong with it, but because his poor mother truly was all but panicked. Bishop felt guilty. She hadn't seen anyone seriously since Dad died some ten years ago. Too busy with the farm. Too busy with Bishop.

"Mom, really," Bishop caught his mother by the hand. "I know you want him to like me, and for your sake, I do want him to like me, but if he's going to walk away because my tie isn't straight, a bastard like that doesn't deserve someone like you. You're great, and I'm not going to mess this up. I promise."

Elizabeth's green eyes misted, and she threw her arms around her son, nearly a head taller than she was. "I'm sorry… I…" She just shook her head against his collar bone. "I want him to like you for you… You've been so long without a father… I…"

Bishop chuckled and patted her shoulder, feeling a little awkward. "We've done alright just the two of us. I haven't really needed anything else." He felt a little guilty when the thought that flashed through his mind about the need that started him bending over crates for that stock-boy at Shaffer's Grocers every week. Bishop had never been turned on half as much by anything as he was by the boy's manliness, his swagger, and his confidence. Even worse, he continued letting Jacob bend him over crates because he genuinely enjoyed the sensation of being controlled… manhandled even… and gaining pleasure because someone else was skilled enough to manipulate him into it.

Bishop stepped back, refusing to think any further. It was nowhere near appropriate to be turned on when he was about to meet his mother's fiancé. Who the hell knew if the man would even put up with Elizabeth's gay son — if he ever found out, because Bishop sure as hell was doing his damnedest to make sure no one ever did.

He cleared his throat. "Mom, it's going to be fine. I'll be on my best behavior. I promise."

She squeezed his hand. "I want you to be you, sweetheart. If this doesn't work for you, it will never work for me." Her distracted eyes shifted to the clock. "Oh, they should be here soon. I'll go get the rolls in the oven."

Bishop stared at her back as she rushed away. A sinking feeling settled in his stomach as he followed after her. "They?"

"Yes. He's bringing his son… He'll also be a senior in the fall. I haven't met him either."

So that was why she seemed especially nervous. The boyfriend got to meet the son, and she got to meet the boyfriend's son, which meant the two boys had to meet, too. Oh the evening was shaping up to be a real doozy.

"I'm sure it's going to go fine, mom." Now Bishop wasn't quite as sure. He and people, guys his age especially, tended to get off on the wrong foot… always.

"I'm sure you're right. I—"

The doorbell cut her off, and all hope of her finishing her thought evaporated.

"I'll get them put in, mom." Bishop took the towel and the 'last minute' herbs from his mother. "You just go get the door."

Elizabeth smiled and squeezed his hand. "There isn't a man on earth as good as you."

Bishop was embarrassed at how much such a statement meant to him. He just turned to get the rolls in the oven as she went to the door.

When the rolls were in, Bishop headed into the entryway where his mother was speaking to the man she was going to marry and being introduced to the man's son.

Bishop froze.

Elizabeth turned and smiled, waving him forward. "Come meet Peter and Jacob."

In a mode similar to autopilot, Bishop did as instructed, feeling numb and deaf.

The look in Jacob's eyes was somehow both predatory and awed. His devilish streak made an immediate appearance: "Bishop, eh? That's a unique name." He looked to Elizabeth. "Is that a name in your family?"

Bishop's face went warm. He'd repeatedly refused to talk about his name, even walking off on Jacob before they got to the important part of their weekly meetings.

Elizabeth just laughed, clearly oblivious of the fact that her son knew this boy—carnally. "No, it's not a family name. Bishop's father was an excellent chess player and well… Bishop was the name we finally agree on after I told him none of my children would ever been named 'King' or 'Knight'."

Everyone laughed and Bishop managed to force one as well. "I would have preferred 'Rook'."

Elizabeth smiled and patted his shoulder. "Unfortunately for you, your father lost the coin toss.

Jacob grinned. "The bishop is more powerful anyway."

Bishop's jaw tightened, wondering if Jacob was mocking him. He turned to Peter and smiled as he accepted the man's hand. "Nice to meet you."

Peter nodded, his smile warm and friendly. "I've heard so many great things about you."

"Uh… same here."

Elizabeth flushed and gestured them all forward. "Dinner will be ready very soon. Please come in and have a seat at the table."

Peter followed after, and Bishop made a point to not look at Jacob as the two of them brought up the rear together. Dinner was a touch awkward, but not the nightmare Bishop had expected when he saw Jacob standing there with the owner of Shaffer Grocery, which was apparently also his dad. Conversations were carefully polite, and both Peter and Jacob appropriately contradicted Bishop's mom when she apologized that the dinner wasn't better.

When things were winding down and the lemon cake had been served and eaten, Elizabeth turned to her son: "Bishop, why don't you show Jacob that game system you have upstairs?"

For the first time, Bishop wished his mother wasn't so awesome. He couldn't exactly say 'no, I'm not actually comfortable having Jacob in my room'. "S-sure." He looked at Jacob and felt a little ill at the excitement he saw in the other boy's eyes.

Jacob looked at Elizabeth and a charming smile spread over his lips. "Dinner really was delicious. Thank you."

Bishop's mom blushed as she smiled. "You're welcome."

Bishop had to turn away and head for the stairs, extremely conscious of Jacob right at his heels.

"Wouldn't have pegged you as a game player."

Bishop shrugged. "It's not a new system. Mom got it for me when I…" He wasn't ready to share that. "Just don't expect too much." He knelt down to pull out the fairly dusty system and set it up.

"That's cool."

The hair on the back of Bishop's neck raised when he heard his bedroom door click shut. However, when he glanced back, Jacob was slouched in a beanbag as if they actually were just… friends.

Bishop forced himself to be calm. Maybe Jacob was just as unnerved and reluctant in this situation as Bishop was and Bishop was reading too much into the expressions.

He dropped a controller into Jacob's lap and sat on the floor near the beanbag with his back pressed against his bed.

"Oh man, this game is classic! It's been forever since I've played it."

Bishop grinned. "Figures."

"You think I'm spoiled?"

Bishop began to run his avatar around seeking Jacob's in the expansive world they'd been dropped into. "I think you make sure you get the things you want."

"Guilty I suppose."

And for a while, they just played. It was… nice. Really nice.

"Don't," Bishop grabbed Jacob's hand. "What are you thinking?"

Jacob wasted not a second. He rolled off the beanbag and straddled Bishop, burying his fingers in the dark hair and pulling Bishop's head back so he could seal their mouths together in a fiery kiss. He pulled away enough that they could pant in each other's faces. It smelled like mom's tomato bisque. "I'm thinking I'm going to make you cry for me."

Bishop scowled and pushed against Jacob's unyielding chest. "Think again."

Jacob frowned, and his fingers tightened in Bishop's hair. "Don't be a dick." He rocked his hips, aggravating Bishop's immediate hard-on.

"My mother is downstairs," Bishop hissed. Why did his body betray him? This was all kinds of wrong.

"And so is my father," Jacob growled back, not giving an inch. "If they're human they're trying to see how far they can get, too."

"Get off me," Bishop growled.

Jacob look furious. For the first time in the two years they'd known each other, he looked like he might actually hit Bishop. It… was unnerving. Jacob's eyes narrowed. "Are you going to be like this all the time now?"

"Be like what?"

"Like this!" Jacob gestured vaguely towards Bishop's person. "Are you… Are we… Are you dumping me because our parents are getting it on?"

"Dumping you?" Bishop repeated. "Dumping is what you do to a boyfriend."

Again that look of rage. "What the hell do you think we are?"

"Are you serious?" He clearly was. Now Bishop was getting uncomfortable for a different reason… not the 'oh man he's unstable' uncomfortable, but the guilty-uncomfortable. "We… we're fuck-buddies at best."

"Like hell." Jacob's fist pounded against the bed off Bishop's left shoulder. "I don't have or need fuck buddies."

Bishop snarled and shoved hard against Jacob's chest, managing to push him off so Bishop could scramble up. For the first time, he towered over the taller boy… but only because Jacob remained on his ass on the floor "You push me down over a crate or against the wall and plow my ass. What about that is not needing a fuck buddy?"

Jacob's eyes were wide, and he was on his feet, switching the towering roles in an instant. "You asshole. I l-like you."

Bishop scoffed. "You don't even know me. You just know I drop my pants for you."

"That's a lie."

"It is not." Bishop doubted if Jacob could have looked more offended if Bishop told him his father was a society-sucking bum and Jacob smelled of ape shit.

"I know your favorite music. I know your least favorite food. I know that you are afraid of dogs, but you really like cats even though you're allergic to them. I know that you like me."

Bishop's face grew warm, and he wanted to spin and storm out of the room, but then he would have to explain to their parents. Ugh… "Goddamnit! We're going to be brothers!"

Bishop startled a little when he realized Jacob's hands rested on Bishop's shoulders, his thumbs stroking up Bishop's neck. His expression was soft and almost hopeful but no less unnerving than when Bishop was afraid the blond boy was going to strike him.

"Is that what this is about?"


"Society… right and wrong… you're just afraid?"

Bishop's eyes widened and he scowled. "I'm not afraid of shit, you asshole."

Jacob sighed, a slight smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "I found you first, babe. I'm not giving you up because my dad found your mom. "

"I'm not yours." Bishop's voice was low and uncertain.

"Yes, you are."

"You… you thought of us as dating?"

Jacob chuckled and leaned forward to kiss Bishop. Bishop almost melted against him. He had to fist his hands around the sides of his trousers to keep from wrapping his arms around Jacob. Jacob withdrew, his tongue lingering on Bishop's lips a moment longer. "Just because you haven't had time for our first date yet doesn't mean we're not."

Bishop found his betraying hands reaching up to grip Jacob's wrists. He'd been serious in all those offhanded comments about getting together in the weekend or after school? Bishop now felt… stupid. "This won't work," he murmured, his gaze dropping. "They won't understand?"

"Our parents?"

Bishop nodded.

"We won't tell them."

"We'll be caught."

"We'll deal with it then. We'll be smart."

Bishop smirked. "You can't be."

Jacob chuckled. "I resent that."

"Alright boys, take care of things while we're gone. We'll call you when we get there."

Jacob watch Bishop tolerate Elizabeth fussing over him as if Bishop was the one heading off to places unknown. Bishop surely had more patience than Jacob could ever understand… maybe that was what let him put up with Jacob.

Peter hefted Elizabeth's travel bag over his shoulder. "Jacob, I don't want you to leave Bishop to take care of everything."

Jacob snorted. "You know me, Dad, just a regular lazy-bones-Jones."

Peter shook his head, obviously wanting to ask yet again what had happened between the two of them that made Jacob so belligerent and 'not like my son anymore'. Perhaps he'd been reminded one too many times that his existence was in error and something that weighed down Peter. "Jacob, just don't give Bishop a hard time, alright?"

Jacob crossed his right foot over his left where it was propped up on the coffee table. "Dad, I promise." He looked over at Bishop and smiled. "I'll treat my new little brother well."

Peter managed a little smile that at the same time looked both hopeful and subtly disbelieving. "Thank you."

When their parents were finally on their way to the airport, Jacob dropped his head back against the couch and stared at the ceiling. He hated how thick the air felt. He really hated how for the past two months Bishop hadn't made a single delivery to the shop. How, now that they were living in the same house, Bishop felt farther away than ever… even after they'd had what Jacob considered a successful conversation the night of their 'first meeting'.

Jacob glanced over, finding Bishop still staring out the window where he waved goodbye — tradition or something between him and his mom. Jacob's jaw tightened. He wasn't still waving, but ten minutes? "You never struck me as a momma's boy."

"Shut up."

Jacob's jaw tightened, and he shoved off the couch. He crossed the room, slid his arms around Bishop's waist, and nuzzled his neck before biting him softly.

Bishop didn't move — neither in acceptance nor rejection.

Jacob sighed, dropping his forehead against Bishop's shoulder. "You really won't be with me anymore?"

"It wasn't ever anything. It was sex… outside… on a loading dock. We got each other off. It's got to be different now."

"Bishop, I—"

"You'll find someone else convenient."

Jacob's eyes flew wide, and he jerked upright. He grabbed Bishop's shoulder and spun him around, pushing the shorter boy against the front door. "Convenient?!" he hissed.

Bishop tilted his jaw. "You need a little challenge in your life and having a live-in fuck-toy will feed your sense of entitlement entirely too much. I won't contribute to that, and I won't sacrifice my self-respect."

Jacob scowled. "Where is this coming from? I… I thought we worked this out already."

"Worked what out?" Bishop demanded, his beautiful eyes hard. "You informed me how I felt and acted like it meant we were going to go on as we had been. You didn't ask, you just… told. I won't be bullied into being my step-brother's sex slave… no matter what you do to me."

Jacob felt like he'd been struck. He staggered backwards, trying to comprehend this heaving in his world. But… Bishop didn't disagree… he… participated. Regardless, the accusations and the cold bitterness… it hurt. Jacob wished that Bishop had just hit him instead. "Why didn't you ever tell me you hated me?" When Bishop just crossed his arms and looked away, Jacob wanted to throw up. His lip curled back. "I'm not a monster, and I'll thank you not to twist me into one. Don't worry. I won't touch you again."

Jacob turned and stomped upstairs to the bedroom he found himself sharing with the boy that drove him crazy. The spare room, currently full of old office furniture and boxes of paper, was 'going to be redecorated for one of the boys', but that was after the kitchen was fixed up, so they just needed to be a little cramped for now.

"Damn it," Jacob growled and hauled his still half-full suitcase out from under the little cot. Settling into someone else's room was really challenging. He jerked open the lid and glanced through what was in there. Good enough. He turned and grabbed his comb, toothbrush, and toothpaste to toss them in as well.

Jacob pulled his ball cap on low over her face before he headed down the stairs and out the front door. He could feel Bishop's eyes on him, so it wasn't necessary to announce he was leaving for a while — he wasn't a four-year-old trying to get someone to stop him. He was actually leaving.

As the door slammed behind him, he heard a soft "Be careful." His fists tightened. It would have been kinder for Bishop to just tell him to fuck off.

Bishop picked up the phone, a weight settling in his chest. "Hi mom." He tried to sound bright and cheerful, but he wasn't sure he succeeded.

Mom, on the other hand, failed miserably. "Hi sweetie. I hope you're doing well."

"Yeah mom, I am. How are you?"

"Oh we're having a great time."

We. Not her…. 'we'. Bishop swallowed his sigh and the resentment of having things change, of his mother having someone else and therefore needing Bishop less. It wasn't wrong, and he knew it… he just… didn't like it. "I'm glad."

Her voice grew more strained. "Listen, Bishop, Peter hasn't been able to get ahold of Jacob. Is he there?"

Bishop stomach plunged. "Not right now."

"Do you know where he is?"

"He didn't say where he was going when he left."

There was a stretch of uncomfortable silence. "When was the last time you saw him?"

"Uhm… in the morning." It was morning the last time he saw Jacob… just not of that day. Besides, Jacob was a big boy. He knew how to take care of himself, and he knew where home was. It wasn't Bishop's fault he'd stood his ground.

"Do you know if something happened to his phone?"

"He didn't mention it."

"Alright, well… when he comes home, please have him call Peter. He's… worried."

Bishop could hear the worry that was also in his mother's voice. "Yeah, mom. I'll make sure he does."

"Love you, sweetheart."

"Love you, too."

Bishop ended the call and swallowed against the growing knot in his throat. He looked to the window. What if something had happened to Jacob? How would Bishop explain not raising an alarm days ago when Jacob didn't return?

"He's fine," Bishop told himself. "He's got to be fine…" But why was he ignoring his father's calls? "Shit." Bishop turned to find his shoes and his wallet. "I'll kill him if he's fine."

Jacob looked up, finding a searing scowl pinned on his face. Slapping a grin on his own face, his head down again, eyes closing. He curled his right arm, gesturing vaguely. "Hey ladies, meet my kid brother, Bishop."

One of the girls… Cassy? Sissy? Missy? Something like that. Whatever her name was, she giggled. "He doesn't look anything like you."

"Not really I guess." Jacob tightened his arm around the girl's shoulder who was curled up against his other side.

"Are you drunk?" Bishop's voice was venom.

Jacob shrugged. "Not currently. Though I was about…" He made a show of looking at his naked wrist. "Four hours ago maybe. What time is it anyway?"

Bishop hit Jacob's foot none-too-gently. "Get your ass up."

Jacob smirked. "I'm afraid it's not my ass that gets up."

"You son of a bitch. Get your shit together. We're going home."

A couple of the girls whined in disapproval… or maybe it was just one and Jacob was hearing in double. Was that possible? It had to be. He had two ears. If the eyes could fail to work together right, surely the ears could get out of synch, too. "No."

The next thing he knew was a vice-like grip jerking his arm so hard that he found himself half dragged out of the bed, the girl on his left being dragged with him.

"Blondie, you best get yourself up or I'll drag your ass out of this bed, too."

Jacob wanted to fight the forceful hold, but found his coordination was less than active, so when Lorna or Linda or whatever scrambled her way clear, Jacob slipped free of the girl-pile and landed hard on his hip.

"You bastard!" he growled, finally finding the leverage to jerk his arm out of Bishop's hand. "Leave me alone."

"Get your shit or my next move is to knock your lights out and drag you out of here naked."

"Violent much?"

"You worried your father and my mother."

Jacob scoffed. "Not you though."

"Not me though," Bishop hissed. "Get your shit."

Jacob made it to his feet. His hip began to ache, and it felt like maybe Bishop had managed to pull his arm out of socket briefly. At least Jacob had given up pitching or he'd really be pissed.

The girls were already snoring again by the time Jacob managed to get his feet through the correct trouser legs. He had to steady himself on the wall as he got his feet into his shoes. Damned things wouldn't hold still.

"Good enough." Bishop growled, again taking Jacob by the upper arm and began dragging him through the halls of the sizable house belonging to the parents of one of the girls.

"I've got a hangover, you know," he complained as the shorter boy manhandled him into that dinged-up blue truck.

"But you lack basic decency, so's fair."

Jacob winced when Bishop slammed the door and stormed around to the other side.

The long drive home was silent but punctuated with pain. Bishop had to be going out of his ways to find this many potholes.

"How did you find me?"

"It wasn't easy," Bishop snapped. "I lost three days of work. You're just lucky I found you before mom and Peter came home." Jacob felt his step-brother's gaze flick to him. "What possessed you to end up this far from home anyway?"

Jacob shrugged, turning to look at the scenery passing by. Ugh. Made him need to vomit. That would probably get him slugged. So he closed his eyes and leaned his head back. "Wasn't really paying attention."

"You're such a prick."

Jacob grinned. "Don't you know it."

Jacob lurched awake again when the truck gave a sudden jerk. He swallowed back the bile fighting for escape and looked around a bit bewildered. This wasn't ho… oh. Yeah it was. He groaned. His headache was worse than before, and his mouth filled with the taste of dead skunk and ash.

He sorta oozed out of the truck and up the sidewalk, letting Bishop get Jacob's things or not. Jacob didn't care.

When Jacob started up the stairs, he choked on his collar, jerked back by Bishop's vengeful hand. "Call your father. What the hell happened to your phone anyway?"

Jacob just shrugged and pulled out of Bishop's hold. "You call my father." His grin darkened. "Maybe that's why I'm not good enough anymore." He took a step forward, managing to use his height to an advantage once more. "Is it that you want step-daddy in your pants and not big brother?"

Bishop's eyes went wide, and they flooded with rage.

Jacob didn't see the fist coming. He just knew one minute he was staring into those beautiful, furious eyes, and the next, he'd collapsed onto the stairs, his jaw screaming in pain while his head felt like it had split down the center.

Bishop's fists, the right cut and dripping blood now, were shaking, and it looked like the top of his head might actually blow off.

Jacob managed a smirk. "Okay… maybe not." Or he'd hit the nail exactly on the head. Jacob's heart wrenched at the unfairness.

"Call your father," Bishop growled, the words sounding suspiciously like 'I'll fucking kill you,' in Jacob's ears.

"Can I borrow your phone?"

Bishop looked ready to beat Jacob's face in, but he produced his phone without a word.

Jacob went to the messages and wrote a quick text: 'Its Jake. Borrowing fishes phone. Mines busted. I'm fine. Sry to worry. C u few days.' Jacob handed the phone back. "There. Happy?"

Bishop frowned. "Fishes?"

Jacob shrugged and dragged himself to his feet. "Autocorrect sucks." Without another word, he trudged up the stairs to the bathroom intending to have a good vomit and a shower. Maybe he'd manage to drown in the spray.

Bishop's alarm went off, and he groaned as he pulled himself up and out of his bed. He glanced at the little bed crammed in the corner and frowned. Jacob must have slept on the couch again — or stayed out again. Bishop didn't know what to do. Since their confrontation the day he'd dragged Jacob home, they hadn't said so much as four words to the other. It was like… they were worse than strangers. Part of Bishop wanted to let their parents deal with Jacob and whatever selfish insanity he'd fallen into. But then that would mean that Mom would be upset. And then what if it caused problems between Mom and Peter?

Bishop was going to have to be the bigger man. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to tame it, and headed downstairs.

Well at least Jacob had been home last night, and he wasn't going to be gone when Mom and Peter got home.

Bishop sighed.

Jacob looked... a mess. His hair was dirty, and the last time Bishop caught his eyes, they'd been bloodshot. Bishop didn't think that would have changed. He didn't smell that great either. Bishop wanted to shake him awake and demand he straighten up because Bishop did not want this screwed up for his mother… no matter how difficult it was for himself.

As if Jacob could hear Bishop's thoughts, his cloudy eyes open and dragged around the room, stopping on Bishop. With a groan he threw his arm over his eyes. "What?"

'Unfriendly' Bishop could deal with. "They're coming home today."


"Think you might bother to shower?"

Jacob's lips curled back, and he moved his arm just enough to see beneath it. "What's it to you?"

"Jake…" Bishop froze. It… How long had it been since he used Jacob's name? Why did it feel so foreign on Bishop's tongue? His cheeks warmed. "This isn't you."

Jake snorted, and his arm lowered again. "You were the one who pointed out that we don't know each other. This very well is me."

Bishop could hear the lie, but decided to ignore it. How was he going to get Jacob to straighten up? "Please… I mean it's not like you're going to be able to sleep on the couch anymore, so it just fits that you shouldn't look like a couch bum either. Just… we'll pretend like all this never happened so we don't worry them."

Jacob sighed as if it hadn't occurred to him what it meant for their parents to come back. At length, he stood and headed for the stairs. He looked… short… bowed.

Bishop didn't know what to do. He didn't know why he felt like he had to do something. "Is it because I snore?"

Jacob glanced over his shoulder. "Huh?"

"You… on the couch. Is it because I snore?"

"You goddamn moron." Jacob laughed, but there was no joy in the sound. He shook his head and paused on the stairs. "Maybe someday you'll see what it's like to try and sleep in a room where every damn scent turns you on, but there's this big neon sign, just screaming…" He held up his hands, a big grin on his face and an exaggerated gesture for each word as if miming a billboard: "Fuck off and die." Jacob's false smile faded, and his eyes deadened before he turned and trudged up the stairs.

Bishop's skin felt too tight and his head too light. A wave of nausea washed over him and he wished none of this ever happened. He should have told Jacob 'no' that first time and every time after. He shouldn't ever have let himself succumb to Jacob's his charms. He just… shouldn't have.

"Just… one last time…?" Jacob's arms were around Bishop from behind, his strong hold pressing his chest and his need against Bishop's body. For a while after their conversation the day their parents returned from their honeymoon, Jacob avoided Bishop entirely. However, lately, Jacob had been making heavy overtures once again whenever Mom and Peter weren't nearby. "They won't be back for hours…"

Bishop's jaw tightened as he continued to stare out the frosty bedroom window and the dead foliage outside waiting for snow to come and tuck the world away until spring. "Fine," he groaned, leaning back in surrender. Mom and Peter were at the store meeting with some new supplier anyway. He closed his eyes, his body more than ready to respond to the familiar touch that he had also been aching for. "One last time and never again. Do you understand me?"

"Okay." Jacob's arms tightened, and he immediately began to kiss Bishop's neck. His hand splayed over Bishop's abdomen and then slid slowly down the front of his sweatpants. It wasn't even a full fifteen seconds later before Bishop was nude and on all fours atop his bed with Jacob's hot skin pressed against his back.

Bishop's breath came hard, and he hated how desperate he felt. He needed Jacob inside him. He needed the pleasure and the passion. He needed to feel the heat, and he wanted it to be Jacob that made him feel like this. He wanted for the past half-year to melt away, and he wanted to pretend that it was okay to feel like this again.

Bishop lowered his chest to the bed, gripping the headboard as Jacob's hurried fingers invaded, stretching and pulling. It was painful and promised more pain… but it also promised pleasure.

"Just do it," Bishop moaned. "Now… just do it."

Jacob clearly was just as needy. He gripped Bishop's hips and positioned himself before uniting them with a rough push.

Bishop curled backwards with a desperate moan of both protest and encouragement. The pain was sharp and the intrusion complete. It was hard to breathe and he just wanted more. "Move…" he panted. "Move damn it."

The sex itself wasn't especially moving or memorable. It wasn't like it was the best they'd ever done — it was halting and at moments they were out of rhythm, each seeking too much, too fast from the other. There was pain and Bishop felt blood, but… it felt so right. He let go, allowing Jacob's strength to control and dictate him. That was… amazing.

Bishop, bit his lip when Jacob came. For half a moment he was pissed as all shit because why the fuck wasn't Jacob using a condom? But then after that half-a-moment, he was lost in his own orgasm because that new and strange sensation somehow tipped him over the edge… and why the hell would they ever use a condom?

He pressed heavy against his forearms as he panted. His body was aching, but he already wanted to do it again. Jacob's arms tightened, his face pressed between Bishop's shoulder blades.

Bishop's jaw tightened, and he shifted as he remembered himself, who they were, and why this was all so… wrong. That he'd received the promise of never again. "Jake…" he started. "We—"

"Please not yet." Jacob's voice was extremely quiet, and it shook at the end. "Just a little longer…"

Bishop froze, and his brows drew together. "Are you crying?"

"Shut up," Jacob growled, but there wasn't malice behind the words… just desperation.

Bishop pushed upwards and glanced over his shoulder. Jacob's shoulders were shaking and his arms grew tighter as if silently repeating the 'not yet' plea. It didn't make sense. Why was he crying? He'd just gotten exactly what he'd been harassing Bishop for months over. "Jake," he said softly. "Let me turn around. I… we'll… talk."

"I don't need to talk. Just let me hold you."

Bishop sighed, and his jaw tightened. The tone, the words… Jacob suddenly sounded as weak and as lost as Jacob could make Bishop feel. Guilt crawled up Bishop's spine. How many times had he heard and ignored the same just beneath the bravado that Jacob wore like a… like a mask. He reached over his shoulder and managed to caress Jacob's head. "Jake… let me turn around. I… I'm not going to send you away."

Every motion felt reluctant, but Jacob did release his hold on Bishop. He pulled out, leaving Bishop feeling empty as Bishop turned to lie on his back beneath Jacob. Bishop pressed his lips together as he reached up to touch Jacob's face. He sighed and slid the fingers of both hands into Jacob's hair and pulled him down against Bishop's chest. Immediately, Jacob's arms linked around him again, growing tight and possessive about Bishop's waist.

Bishop stared at the ceiling and considered what he should say, or if he should say anything. For a while he just thought back over the things Jacob had ever said or done. "Jake… I… I think maybe it was… me… who didn't know us."

Jacob's arms tightened further, his grip growing almost painful. It made sense that he wouldn't understand or trust where Bishop was going. Bishop closed his eyes and continued to stroke through Jacob's hair. "You… you've been trying to get me to understand that you… love me?" Jacob somehow seemed small and vulnerable in Bishop's arms, and Bishop knew he was right. "Why didn't you just… tell me?"

"And what would you have said?"

"I…" Bishop frowned. "I wouldn't have believed you."

"That's why."

"You were afraid."

"I fear nothing."

Bishop smiled sadly, the confusing puzzle pieces all beginning to fall into place. "You fear plenty." The bravado, the fights with Peter, the confidence, the distance, all of it… it was because Jacob was terrified of being unwanted. He acted like he didn't care what people thought of him precisely because he was desperate to be cared about.

And Bishop kept him at arm's length because it made him feel powerful. It was control. He was the one who dictated their relationship… he… always had been the one. Jacob just wanted to be loved, and Bishop… Bishop hurt him repeatedly so that he could feel stronger than a boy he viewed as strength embodied.

"Jake… I'm sorry. For everything. I'm sorry."

Jacob shrugged a little. "Never mind."

"I love you."

Jacob froze, almost as if he was afraid to move or do anything. "You do?"

Bishop nodded. "Yeah… for a long time. Just like you said back then."

"So… you and I… we can…?"

"Yeah." After all, all those months ago, Jacob had been right. They found each other first.