/Mad m/m slash. Yup, it's SLASH. And it's cute slash. So there./

Any More Gray

I can't stand the rain. It always feels as if the world is in mourning for itself. Thunderstorms, now; those are different. The world is screaming and raging against its own suffering. But slow, constant, weeping rain… god, it's enough to make anyone depressed.

It's days like these that people are supposed to be hanging out with their friends and watching movies, laughing and joking the day away. I don't have anyone. That's the price you pay for trying to get as far away from home as possible, that's the price you pay for being different and for being uncompromising in that difference.

I've taken to hiding out in the library. This isn't one of those cozy, brightly lit affairs. This is a prison for books and a maze for college students.

The floors are gray tile, the walls are gray concrete, the shelves are gray metal… any more gray and a person would go insane. The lights are on some strange motion detection high. If you step into the darkness between the shelves, two feet wide but infinitely deep, the light will click on and shine weakly over the moldy spines. If you walk quickly past the shelves, you can catch that split second of darkness before the black is shattered into gray.

It's always silent except for the soft inhale, exhale of breath and the occasional thud of student feet. The silence is oppressive; you start to hold your breath unconsciously, start to step lightly and move sparingly, even when no one else is there to hear. Perhaps especially then.

I always come here to study, to sit and read, to think or even just to stare into the elusive darkness. I sat down in the shelves once, waiting patiently for the darkness to fall on me again. I think I frightened the girl who walked around the corner a minute later, just sitting there as if I were asleep or dead.

Today I walk to one of the small study rooms. These are like little closets along the walls; tiny rooms with one desk, one chair, and a light. The doors are metal, like thick barbed wire fences, and they make the rooms look like cages. The thought always makes me smile.

I go to sit in the study room farthest from the door into this part of the library. I've gone up to the fourth floor in hopes of avoiding anyone else who might be hiding from the rain in here today.

I throw my bookbag on the floor, dragging the chair out and sighing. I let my head fall back, just relaxing for the moment. I can start my math homework in a minute. I have time, after all.

"Excuse me?"

The hell? I open my eyes, turning my head to see the young man at the door to my little cage. "Yeah?"

He shrugs and smiles faintly, lowering gorgeous gray eyes. "I'm Ryan, from your history class? With Professor Klein?"

"What's up?" I ask, sitting up and stretching. "I'm Isaac, by the way."

"I know." I'm not sure if he meant to say that, but the sudden, slight blush on his face interests me. "I just- well, you know the third essay question?"

"I'm aware of it," I say slowly, staring right into those pretty eyes. He looks even more uncomfortable, shifting just a little and keeping his eyes moving all around the room, never resting them on anything. He's just about my height, slender without being skinny, with an almost androgynous face. Just my type, in fact.

"I've talked with a few other people from class, and no one really gets what we're supposed to be writing," he says, tilting his head to the side and looking at me appealingly. "Do you have any idea as to what the question's asking for?"

At the moment, I couldn't care less, but saying so would drive him away. Instead, I say, "Tell me the question again. I can't recall it off the top of my head."

He smiles brightly, taking his backpack off and leaning against the wall just inside my cage, pulling out a folder and murmuring, "Thanks, really."

I watch as he searches for the question sheet, admiring his hands. I have a small hand fetish, I admit, and his hands are just beautiful. Long-fingered, square palms, deft and smooth-looking… Why am I torturing myself like this?

Maybe because he blushed, and that could mean that it's not torture, after all.

"This one," he says, sounding hesitant and shy again. I look up from his hands, noting that the blush is back, too.

I reach out to take the paper, just curbing a grin when his hand brushes mine. Today is shaping up quite nicely, hm? I scan the sheet, frowning as I read the ridiculous wording of the questions. I haven't so much as looked at them before this, but they're due in three days. What's the point of starting early?

I lean back in my chair, noticing that Ryan had laid his left hand on the back to support himself, standing right behind me. At first it seems that he might move away, but when he doesn't, I can't hide a small smile.

"I have no idea what this is looking for," I finally admit, letting my head fall back to look up at him. "Sorry."

He doesn't answer; he just stares down at me like he's hypnotized. Our faces are maybe six inches away from each other and I can hear how his breath has gone shallow. Those wide gray eyes are a little frightened, a little glazed over, a little…


I remain still, staring right up at him with an open invitation in my eyes. He parts his lips slightly, tongue darting out to moisten, and now it's my turn to breathe shallowly. Is he going to take the initiative, or what?

I'm not the patient type, so I reach up and gently place my hand on his cheek. His eyelids flicker and his breath catches. I take that as a plea for more and pull his head down until our lips are just millimeters apart. This time, though, he's going to have to make the move. I won't do all the work.

When he does kiss me, it's very sweet. He was chewing some kind of minty gum recently. Good thing I like mint, hm?

He draws back too soon, looking dazed and still a little embarrassed. "I- uh, I'm sorry-"

"For what?" I interrupt sharply, standing up and leaning in close to him. He backs up just a step into the corner of my cage, and I force myself not to laugh when I think the word "cage."

"I-" he stammers, gasping when I get fed up with all this talking and just kiss him again. He may have a pleasant voice but I'd rather that he didn't speak much for a while, at least not coherently.

"Isaac," he says when I break the kiss, toying with the collar of his shirt.

"Ryan," I answer, backing away suddenly and looking at him calmly. He looks faintly annoyed now, much to my delight.

"Forget it," he mutters, reaching out to pull me back to him. Before I'm lost completely in a mental fog, I think to kick the metal door shut, not because it provides much privacy, but…

A cage only works when it's shut, right?

/Review if you like, flame if you have to, blink in confusion if you just don't get it./