Summary: At the heart of a familial conflict, Roy is forced to choose between his new boyfriend and the neighbor he's still madly in love with. Discrimination, hatred and secrets only add fuel to the proverbial fire, and who said love was easy anyway? Slash,M/M

A/N: I will do my best to update this story weekly. I hope you enjoy this story!

Many thanks to AMV for correcting my pathetic excuse for American dialect.


. Prologue .


I hate boarding schools.

I've been to one a few years ago when my mom was in an accident. My dad practically moved-in into the hospital just to be next to her. I was twelve then, and obviously too young to live by myself, so my father – the responsible parent he is – enrolled me into the first boarding school he found online. Well, actually it was the second, since the first was some all-girls military camp in the middle of nowhere. I remember looking through the pictures of that all-girls school and let me tell you, not only did they have to get up at ridiculous hours in the morning, but their daily 'warm up' consisted of a bunch of exercises you only get to see on 'Survival'.

The second school wasn't better by much. Not only was it not all-boys – God forbid I get sent into such a paradise – but it was a musical school. Musical, as in, aside from the hellish mandatory lessons such as Calculus and Literature and hours of nerve-wrecking homework, we had musical activities in the afternoon. I distinctly remember my first thought being 'damn' and the second 'I better go practice Chopsticks'.

So I went to that school for a year and a half, until my mom was finally feeling well enough to start taking care of me again and took me back home. In the eighteen months I was away from home and surrounded by musical prodigies, I had polished my piano skills even further, but I never truly liked playing it until I met him.

He is Aaron, a seventeen year old blond boy with the most unusual gray eyes. He has been my neighbor for the past year. He is also the reason why I enrolled myself in the same second boarding school I found online.

Damn.

"Royal! Go put your suitcase in the car!"

Oh right, there is this tradition in out family to name the children before they are born. Sounds normal, no? Well, here's the catch – the parents can only pick one name, they are not allowed to check for the baby's gender before it's born and they can't change the name once they have chosen it. So basically that narrows the courses of action to either guessing the gender and risking to condemn a baby-girl to live all her life as 'Hector', or choosing a unisex name.

My dad insisted on the unisex choice, just in case my mom's 'motherly intuition' got my gender wrong, which it did by the way. And I would have thanked my father properly once I could talk, but seriously – what kind of name is 'Royal'?!

When I asked my mom, she confessed that once she found out she had a boy, she initially considered naming me 'Marshall', but didn't want the kids at school to make fun of me.

Right, as if 'Royal' wasn't the laughing stock every morning in class. I wasn't seriously bullied in junior high – no one was, but I wasn't so naïve to think that it will continue that way. Therefore starting high-school, I became 'Roy' for everyone.

"Royal!"

Well, obviously not everyone.

"I heard you, mom!" I holler back and sit up on my bed.

I will miss this place, no doubt. I will especially miss the privacy my room had to offer. While in my own bedroom I was the boss and didn't have to explain myself to anyone, in the dorms the rooms were shared with two other boys. I didn't snore nor had smelly feet or any other qualities that would have disturbed my roommates, but I still felt very uncomfortable and couldn't sleep properly the first few months. The main reason for that was my sexuality.

Yes, I knew that I 'played for the other team' ever since I witnessed the horrible sight of my parents kissing. The first time I openly showed that I fancied boys was at my tenth birthday, when I was standing in the middle of a human circle made of my classmates and was told that I could get a kiss from whomever I wanted. I chose Jason, my best friend at the time. Jason chose to avoid me like the plague from that day onward.

Fucking Jason.

For five years after that incident, I tried not to interact one-on-one with boys more than absolutely necessary, so obviously sharing a room with two other males for a year and a half was hell in all its glory.

But that was years ago. I grew up and learned how to act in front of different people. My parents proved to be extremely… indifferent of my sexual orientation when they first caught me snogging our usual pizza delivery guy in the back-yard. I got a lengthy lecture about the whole 'snogging a thirty year-old man while I am barely seventeen myself' thing, but saying that I was mildly surprised when they told me they didn't mind the fact that I'm gay would probably be the understatement of the century.

But I will miss my home not only for the warmth and comfort it has to offer, but also for the perfect angle it was built in, with my bedroom windows directly facing those of Aaron's.

Only god knows how many times I have purposefully woken up at six a.m. to secretly watch him go about his usual morning routine; wake up, send the alarm clock flying across the room, stretch and crawl out of bed, disappear into the bathroom only to walk back into his room minutes later with wet hair and a toothbrush in his mouth, wearing nothing but his blue boxer-shorts.

By god, even while taking care of the most basic of his needs he looked drop-dead gorgeous.

Unlike my own sun-tanned skin, his is pale and slightly pinkish in the dips and curves. It goes quite well with that mop of blond hair he usually keeps in a ponytail and those ever-smiling pale gray eyes. The same eyes that appear in my dreams every night, teasing me, smiling at me, looking at me like that.

Oh how the mighty hath fallen.

"Royal McKenzie, get your butt down here along with your suitcase before I lose my patience and leave you to travel those miles on a bus!"

That was my dad. Unlike my mom, he moves straight to the threats.

I groan as I slide off my bed and stride to my closet. I don't even stop to think about what I should take and instead start throwing random clothes into the suitcase, not bothering to fold them. I'll have to unpack in four hours anyway. Besides, if I'm not in the car in the next five minutes, I'll have to suffer for four hours on a bus, and I hate buses almost as much as I hate boarding schools.

Which is a lot.

In thirty seconds I'm done packing and I move on to grooming. Three more minutes later, I brush a hand haphazardly through my black hair and give my reflection one last, meaningful look before exiting the bathroom.

God, please let this be the right thing to do.

I grab my suitcase and literally fly down the stairs, stopping short of knocking over the huge and extremely ugly Chinese vase at the bottom of the stairs, the one my mom got for her thirty-eighth birthday. If it weren't a present from my grandparents, I wouldn't have restrained myself from 'accidently' breaking it the first chance I got.

"Mom, tell dad to wait—" I start to say, side-stepping the vase, but as I enter the living-room I can practically feel my jaw hit the floor.

My dad is sitting in his armchair, clad in what I am sure is mom's pink bathrobe and calmly sipping his coffee. He looks up at me from the newspaper he's been so absorbed in, an unreadable expression on his face, and I then choose to give him my best glare and drop the suitcase with a dull thud.

And to think that I took only a three-minute bath for this!

"Five minutes," I mutter and walk out of the house. I know it will take him at least fifteen to get ready, but today I am willing to overlook it.

Earlier, while flying down the stairs, I realized that although I was somewhat running away from Aaron, leaving without saying goodbye would still be very rude. After all, he has no idea that he's the reason why I wish to spend my last year of high-school away from home.

Once outside, I walk straight to his door and knock twice. He's living alone with his father, and I never asked him about his family since he seems to get oddly silent whenever someone mentions it. I wonder if his mother is dead.

There is a rattling noise on the other side of the door and for a moment I am tempted to turn around and walk away. Maybe I came at a bad time? But ten a.m. isn't too early, right?

Just when I raise my hand to knock again, the door flies open and a very sweaty and shirtless Aaron appears in the doorway.

"Yes?" he pants slightly, and for a moment I lose all the confidence I've been stocking away for times like these.

I can't seem to pinpoint what is it about him that makes me feel all warm and ticklish in the base of my stomach, and it angers me. Because I always think that if I knew exactly what it was, maybe I could fight it on my own, ignore it somehow, and then I wouldn't have to go to a stupid boarding school to escape it.

"H-hi!" I stammer when I realize that I've been staring at him for a while. I don't know what set it off, but he suddenly starts laughing.

Oh god, that laughter.

The sound of it makes the knot in my stomach twist even further, and I swear I can feel all the blood drain from my body and flow to my face.

"Hey Roy," says a voice behind me, and I know it is Aaron's dad even before I turn to greet him with one of my subtle smiles.

"Hello Mr. Kelly."

He sighs then smiles warmly. "Call me Liam. If you make me repeat that even once more, I will forbid Aaron from ever seeing you again."

I can tell by his eyes that he's joking, but nevertheless I thank him in the back of my mind for giving me this brilliant opening to break the news.

"Oh you don't have to worry about that anymore," I say with lightness that equals his own, "I actually came to say goodbye. I'm leaving."

Aaron abruptly stops laughing, as if the display of joy was nothing but an act all along. I always marveled at how some people can go from a laughing fit to stony seriousness in a matter of milliseconds. However, Liam speaks first.

"Leaving? Where to?"

"Boarding school." Aaron frowns at my answer.

"When?" he asks and there is a certain edge to his question.

"In…" I glance at my watch, "five minutes or so. Maybe ten."

Aaron is speechless again, and I don't know if I'm disappointed or relieved. I know I want him to disapprove, to miss me, but when I made a move on him last week, he made it perfectly clear that he didn't want that kind of relationship with me.

But god, I never asked for the whole male population to be gay. Can't it just be this one guy?

Apparently god tells me to piss-off, if the sudden thunder and rain out of nowhere is any indication for it.

Great. Just what I needed in the middle of August.

I glance from Aaron, to his father and back to Aaron again, seeing only questions and confusion in their gazes.

Idiot. Of course they are confused. I'm confused, but I know that I won't be able to go through with this if I start questioning myself.

Suddenly flustered, I gave them both the best apologetic look I could pull off, although I'm so confused with my own feelings that I don't even know why I feel so guilty.

I am never speechless, but for some reason whenever I am around Aaron I don't know what to say. This time, standing before both him and his father, I once again struggle for words and, eventually, all I offer is a low 'good day' before running back towards my dad's car.

No 'goodbye'. It is by far too formal and final. Once uttered, it allows no regrets, and I can't escape the nagging thought that I will most certainly regret doing this.

With each step I take I feel that I should turn back, but my mind reminds me that there's nothing for me left to see there. I got all the answers I needed. I was rejected— no, my feelings for Aaron were rejected, and I know I can't stay by his side as nothing more than a friend.

It hurts somewhere inside, but I reach the car and get in, my head bowed. I know that if I look up, if not both Kellys then at least Aaron will still be standing there. I know I should ignore him. I know I should just go on with the plan I came up with myself - forget him and find me some nice guy in the boarding school. I know I should forget all about Aaron and his blond hair, and those pale gray eyes that keep driving me mad.

I know I shouldn't look up, but I do. As dad gets in and the car starts moving out of the parking lot, I raise my head just enough to see Aaron's body, but not his face.

The sight of his hands moving in an imitation of air-piano freezes me in my seat, and the knot in my stomach twists even harder when I realize that I recognize the sequence of notes that he's 'playing'.

It's Beethoven's Sonata No.8 - 'Pathetique'. The first composition he heard me play, and the only composition I never managed to play in whole.

I shut my eyes and lay my head on the headrest.

This is the right thing to do. He needs a friend, not some hormonal teenager lusting after him. And I need to forget him. The first step towards that goal is distance – I know from experience that distance can make even the closest people grow apart.

That thought prompts me to open my eyes and glance at my father. I realize that I haven't said goodbye to my mom, but then again, she wouldn't notice anyway. Besides, she said she'd call me tomorrow.

By the time I break out of my thoughts, we are on the highway, and I can already feel the previous sleepless night catch up to me. I jam a CD into the car's player, something loud and with lots of heavy music. I don't recognize the band or the singer, but my dad does, and he sings along, and all I can think about is the trembling in Aaron's hands as he played 'Pathetique' for me in the air.

After a while, I swear I can hear it.


Art - "Aaron": .

Today's quote: "Most of the time I don't have much fun. The rest of the time I don't have any fun at all." - Woody Allen