A/N WARNINGS: Cursing, bl/slash. Reviews are appriciated, flames are not.

Christopher sank to his knees before the sterile-white hospital bed. He was not praying; he just no longer had the energy to stand.

In the bed laid a boy with messy, overgrown dark hair and eyes that were ice blue. Unfortunately, at this moment no one could see his eyes. They were shut so peacefully, but he wasn't sleeping. Luke had been in a car accident. A bad car accident.

Christopher had spent the past two years of his life by this boy's side. They'd been through more trials and obstacles than many couples would face in a lifetime together.

Ever the optimist, Luke never lost his smile. He'd always been cheerful and playful in the face of misery and chaos. He had a past that made Christopher tremble, though he hadn't lived a fairy tale either. Luke was Christopher's anchor, his gravity. He kept Christopher's feet on the ground. If Luke didn't wake up…

A doctor walked into the room, interrupting Christopher's morbid train of thought.

"Good news, sir," the doctor said through slightly gritted teeth, "Your friend should wake up any time. He's got some cuts and scrapes and bruises, but he should be fine. We'll monitor him until he wakes up and check him over once more, but then we can send him home."

The doctor knew Christopher wasn't just a friend, but seemed to be one of those homophobes that made a point ignore what he didn't comprehend.

He left the room quickly, which suited Christopher just fine.

If Luke had been talking to the doctor, and Christopher had been in the bed, Luke would have confronted the doctor. Luke had lived in the closet for years for fear of his parents. When he finally decided not to lie anymore, he also decided not to let anyone think he was someone he wasn't. Christopher loved that about him.

It had taken years to get to that point, and Christopher could remember exactly how it had all started.


Luke ran up the stairs to his new school. It was the first day of class and he was already almost late!

Behind him he heard a car door slam, and then another set of feet running up the stairs.

At exactly seven-thirty, the bell to report to first period rand and door leading to the outside would lock. If you wanted to get into the school after that, you had to go through the office, and if you went through the office you got a detention.

Luke got to the top of the stairs and through the door with almost perfect timing. He was holding the door open as the bell sounded. He saw the lock click.

However, instead of going to class as he should have, he stood to hold the door for a complete stranger.

"Umm, thanks, but we still have to get tardy passes from the office," the boy said.

Luke could have died.

They weren't the only ones who had been tardy that day, and the principal liked to give long-winded speeches on punctuality, so they had a few minutes to talk.

"How come I've never seen you before? I'm Christopher, by the way."

"Well, I'm new here," Luke explained, "I'm living with my uncle for now."

"Oh, that's cool, I guess."

"Yeah, Uncle Bruce is kinda awesome," Luke said, unsure of how to further the conversation, but not eager to sit in silence. "So, who do you run around with?"

"Come again?"

"The preps, the jocks, emo kids…" Luke supplied.

"Umm…none of the above?" Christopher thought for a moment, "I play basketball."

Luke grinned, "I play baritone."

Christopher gave him a look.

"I'm in the band. The baritone is an instrument. We'll see each other at the games right?"

"Yeah, the band plays at our games," Christopher paused for a few moments and seemed to be in thought. Cautiously he said, "I don't really hang out with the guys on the team. I guess if I had to peg myself I'd say I'm a boarder."

"That's what I'm talkin' about!" Luke said in a slightly louder voice.

"Do you?"

"Skateboard? Nah," Luke seemed to be looking at something far away, "I was going to learn back home, but I never really got around to it."

"Well, we're going to have detention after school today, but after that or tomorrow or something if you wanted I could show you a thing or two," Christopher offered.

"That would be nice."

"Matthews!" the principal yelled.

"I thought your name was Christopher?"

"Matthews is my last name," Christopher laughed.

And he disappeared behind the door to the principals. Another boy walked out, his face white as snow. What a great first day.

Luke sat there blankly for maybe three minutes before Christopher came out. He winked at Luke and said, "Don't be scared. The first thirty seconds are the worst of it."

After being yelled at and given his schedule, Luke headed to first period, English IV.

When he walked through the door, everyone was talking. Apparently the teacher didn't see the point to working on the first day.

Luke handed his tardy slip to the teacher, introduced himself, and began to carefully examine each cluster of students.

He chewed detachedly on the inside of his bottom lip as he stood at the front of the class and openly tried to discern which he wanted to involve himself in.

He was relieved when a darkly-clad boy beckoned to him, "Hey, new kid!"

Luke smiled optimistically and walked over to them.

He looked at his attire and understood why they had called to him. He was wearing a torn pair of casual, comfortable jeans and a black band t-shirt over a long-sleeved red undershirt.

With his inky black hair, which (unlike that of the kids that had called to him) was natural, he did look like one of the punks.

He sat down and dropped his backpack. With a big smile he said, "Hi, my name is Luke."

The guy that had called him over had dark hair streaked with white-blonde. He wore a tight t-shirt and jeans equally as tight.

He said, "I'm cal, that's Anna, Sarah, James, and Johnny."

He pointed at each person as he introduced them, and each looked different, but they were all dressed in the same general style.

"So, Luke, where do you come from?" a girl with flamboyant red hair, Sarah, asked.

"Washington," Luke answered, "This place is nothing like Seattle."

"That's cool," Anna said in a soft soprano voice, "I've been to Seattle before."

The cluster talked for a long time while the teacher surfed around on the interned. Luke had never really been able to understand why a teacher would do that. They were getting paid to teach, the least they could do was pretend to care about their jobs.

Not that he minded having time to meet people.

"So, why do we only have five classes in the day?" Luke wondered out loud as he eyed his schedule.

"Our classes are long," Cal answered, "And we get a free period."

"What are you taking anyway?" James took the piece of paper out of Luke's hands. "English IV, calculus, Spanish, band, and chemistry," he read aloud.

"You're in the band?" Johnny spoke up for the first time.

"Yeah, I play baritone," Luke grinned.

"TC or BC?"

"BC's the bomb, baby!"

Johnny laughed. "I'm on the snare."

"Sweet! I got our show music. 'Music Around the World' huh?" Luke felt more at ease than he had so far that day. Talking about music was comfortable, perhaps even therapeutic, for him.

"Yeah. Mr. Reynolds picked it out. It's kinda fun to play. Especially the African-style drum break. That part's amazing."

For the rest of the period, Luke talked to these kids. They were nothing like his friends back home. They weren't especially strange. There was nothing to really keep him interested in them for long. He assumed that he wouldn't really hang with them for long, but they defiantly wouldn't be his last resort.

Dozens of other cliques were just like theirs, but that was no reason for Luke to begrudge himself some meaningless conversation.

As he walked down the hall looking for his calculus classroom, Luke could feel himself drifting in and out of reality.

He thought for a few moments about the boy in the office. Christopher Matthews. He had the nicest smile and such soft-looking light brown hair. It wasn't short and it wasn't long, but he seemed to perpetually have bed-head. His eyes were such a pretty, flecked hazel color. And he had a great body build…

Luke, his face red, forced himself to derail his train of thought. There was no way he would be able to concentrate on calculus if it continued down that path.

He walked through the door and saw someone he'd talked to in his last class. He sat with her and was pretty sure her name was Anna.

Silently, he watched people come through the door. He didn't quite want to admit to himself that he was hoping Christopher would come through the door. He didn't though, and Luke also didn't want to admit to himself that he was disappointed.

This teacher was the kind to make use of every moment of class, so she gave a huge pre-test.

Luke had aced pre-cal, and even though there was a lot on the test he'd never seen before, he was fairly sure he'd made a high score.

He finished with twenty minutes to spare, but didn't turn his test in right away. He hated to be the first to turn in a test. He doodled absentmindedly on the back until someone else turned theirs in. He gave the teacher his paper and laid his head down on the desk.

After a moment, the teacher called out the grade of the first student. It wasn't a very good grade.

Another few moments passed and the teacher said, "Good work, Mr. Sanderson," addressing Luke, "You made a ninety-four. But next time, refrain from writing some girl's initials on the back?"

The teacher held the paper up, revealing a calligraphic C.M. inside of a curvy heart.

Luke wanted to drop off the face of the earth.

Lunch was immediately after second period, and as much as Luke wanted to bolt, he couldn't. The teacher wanted to see him after class.

"Have you taken calculus before, Mr. Sanderson?"

"No, sir, but I took pre-cal," Luke answered somewhat dryly.

"I'm transferring you to the honors class," the teacher said dismissively, "Report to room 207 tomorrow for second period."

"Yes, sir," and with that, Luke practically ran to the lunch room.

It was really crowded, and Luke began to feel bitter waves of anxiety as he searched for a table.

"Hey! New kid!" a familiar voice called.

Butterflies fluttered in his stomach. Luke turned to see Christopher waving him over. Cal and Anna were sitting at that table too. Luke was relieved that he wouldn't have to eat with all strangers.

He sat down in the only open seat, one next to Christopher, who immediately proceeded to introduce him to everyone.

"You're going to love our table, dude. This is Anna, Cal, Ashley, Tyler, and Cody. Guys this is," Christopher paused and made a face, "Dude, I never got your name."

"My name is Luke."

"This is Luke," Christopher amended with a goofy grin.

Luke chuckled. He missed the sense of being completely at ease with a group of people. He hadn't been popular at his previous school, but he'd had his friends. He hated having to start over. He hated feeling so anonymous.

"You're the dude from English, aren't you?" Cal asked, though he already knew the answer.

"And calculus," Anna added.

"Not calculus anymore," Luke murmured. Then louder, "I made a ninety-four on the stupid test. The teacher's transferring me to the advanced class. Anyone know where room 207 is?"

"Dude!" Christopher exclaimed, "You're in my calculus class! I'll totally show you were it is tomorrow."

Anna's eyes glinted, as if she'd just remembered something that had slipped her mind. "Speaking of calculus, whose initials were on the back of your test?"

A scarlet blush spread over Luke's cheeks.

"Nuh-uh!" one of the boys, Tyler, chimed in, "You've been here a day and you're already making rounds?"

"I'm not making rounds!" Luke shot back. He'd meant his tone to sound nonchalant, but feared that he'd sounded defensive.

"Who's the lady?" Christopher asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

"I-I…it doesn't matter. I got bored and I was just doodling," Luke said. That wasn't a complete lie. He didn't want things to turn out the way they had in his old school, so he was trying to fly under the radar. Or, perhaps more accurately, fly under the gaydar.

Christopher raised his hands up in mock-defeat. "If you don't want to say who it is, you don't have to."

Luke began to notice that the table was divided. Anna, Christopher, Cal, and Luke were on one side; Tyler, Ashley, and Cody were on the other.

Was it normal for there to be two separate conversations going on, or was Luke causing a divide?

Feeling self-conscious, Luke opted not to speak. He quietly observed those around him, as he was so accustomed to doing.

Christopher seemed to be the life of the group. He spoke to everyone, laughed at everything. He seemed extremely fond of physical contact with people. His hands made wide, flamboyant gestures when he told stories, and Luke could tell he didn't care too much for sitting down. His grin was genuine and infections; it seemed to shine in his eyes.

Anna and Cal were very at ease with each other, and Luke wondered absentmindedly if they were dating. Periodically, they removed themselves from the group and had their own, personal conversations.

Tyler was spunky, for lack of a better word. He flirted with everyone, even the guys, and made plenty of sarcastic and witty comments. He seemed to have an opinion on everything.

Ashley was normal. She didn't really seem to belong in this group, but she didn't stick out either. She didn't radiate confidence, like Christopher, Cal, and Tyler, and she wasn't introverted, like Anna and Cody. Her clothes were mundane to the point of being dull. Luke couldn't help but wonder why she chose to sit here of all places.

Then he noticed.

Cody was the epitome of the word withdrawn. He sat at the far end of the table reading a book. Or rather, half-heartedly reading a book. He was also keeping half-hearted tabs on the ongoing conversations.

Occasionally, Christopher or Tyler would call him out and engage him in conversation. It was a nice fit. Cody kept them on their feet, and they refused to let him be alone.

Not that he was, though. Under the table, he held Ashley's hand. They seemed to be in a relationship. They weren't hiding it, but they weren't flaunting it either.

It struck Luke that he'd never fallen into that medium before.

He scowled a bit, and Christopher ruffled his hair.

"Whatcha all down in the dumps about?"

"Hmm? Nothing's wrong," Luke replied.

"Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Christopher accused light heartedly.

Luke smiled at the other boy's ease. "I'm fine, really. A bit homesick, I suppose."

"Well, after a spot of detention, maybe I can help you get over it," Christopher offered with a smile.

A light blush crept onto Luke's cheeks. That was not meant to have a double meaning. That was not meant to have a double meaning!

a/n: soooo...new story time. I'm excited. Reviews are always appriciated, and I hope to have a new chapter up very, very soon.