i've been sitting on this completed and rewritten fic for a while. i was of the mind i'd clean it up more and try to publish it somewhere, but i haven't done it yet. maybe if i get enough response, i'll think about it more. otherwise, i'll just put it up here for you guys to read.

this one is a bit of a long one, a rewrite of an ancient story i had up here years ago. ...makes me feel even older than i do. :laughs: oh well. hope you guys enjoy it, at any rate.

saturday, 17 september, 2013. 10:14pm.

I was there the day Pudge told my brother he was leaving the state for college; I heard the argument even two doors down in my room. As soon as I heard Kenny's deep voice calling Pudge a "yellow sunovabitch," I slid off my bed and toward the hall, eyes wide at the uncharacteristic anger in his voice. I mean, he gets angry with me all the time, but not with his best friend; in the ten years they've known each other, they've never had a spat that lasted longer than a few moments, despite my brother's hotheaded temper.

This sounded different, and I crept down the hall toward Kenny's room, ears pricked for Pudge's soft reply. Only, Pudge's voice carried further than I expected, and I was shocked to hear a note of hard anger from the guy who was never capable of anything more than irritation.

"I told you when I applied for the scholarships that I'd probably end up having to move, Kenny, I told you and you chose not to listen."

"I listened! I just…didn't think you'd get one. I'd hoped you wouldn't."

Kenny's voice grew softer, unspoken fear and guilt in his tone; I could place easy money on him scratching blunt fingernails down the side of his neck at that very moment, a surefire sign of his feelings of wrongdoing. He didn't know our parents had him clocked for it too, always shocked when they asked him what he'd done wrong when he'd not given any indication he was feeling guilty about something.

Pudge's voice lost its edge and became kinder, though still somewhat more 'final' than it would ever be normally; "It's just four or five hours away, Ken, seriously. There's the phone, right? And I know you're pretty much an illiterate asshole, but there's even such a thing as pencil and paper. I never once said this was it, we were done, now I did I? …You're still my best friend, Kenny."

There were a few moments of loaded silence before Kenny managed a weak, "Yeah. Yeah, still my best friend."

The tension bled away, even I could feel its ebb, and Pudge's voice was lighter, still teasing but just as serious, "Coming with me to the bus station, right?"

"Dude, of course! No slinking away, you bastard. Me an' Ty-bo will be there, definitely."

I started upon hearing my name, the slight jolt reminding me that I was eavesdropping and bound to be caught doing it any moment, so slinked back to my room and shut the door, returning to my novel upon the bed. But even as my eyes skimmed over the words and I turned the pages at a rate significantly slower than my norm, I retained nothing.

I'd known Pudge was going to attempt college, he'd always discussed life after high school with college being a given. There was no uncertainty there, thus I'd never doubted it. Even the fact that his mother was poor, that even if they'd had money she didn't give a rat's shit about him, had never entered into the question of whether or not he was going.

If Pudge said our world was actually just an electron within the atom of some larger being, I would believe it, because Pudge…well, he doesn't lie.

Oh sure, he'll tell those little white lies designed to spare your feelings, but he's not the type to spin huge whoppers, to brag or boast. I used to spend ages trying to figure out how my brother and Pudge got to be such tight friends, and I still couldn't tell you to this day. I mean, Kenny's an alright guy, the average joe in an average dead-end little town. Not particularly athletic, but he did his stint in various things like basketball and wrestling, just like most everyone else.

Pudge did not 'do' sports; his name came from his short, rotund build, and after one too many jeers about his likeness to a bowling ball, Pudge pretty much avoided athletics as much as humanly possible. But the guy is smart, smart enough to trump academic scholarship hopefuls and gain a free ride to university. He worked the lights and sound at drama productions, volunteered most of his weekends to the children's section of the local library, and retaught me how to swim because I nearly drowned when I was five and forgot everything I'd once known about moving through water.

He was Kenny's best friend, but he was mine too; only, even though he never treated me like it, I knew I came second best. Knowing he was Ken's friend first and foremost didn't bother me, because I was never just the bratty kid brother with Pudge, and for that…I worshipped him.

Nobody else humored my bad jokes or terrible attempts at witty puns, nor shared my enthusiasm for foreign films, especially if they were filmed in black and white. He never laughed at me the time I first dragged him through endless fields and through an overgrown pine forest to a clearing I'd claimed my own; his round face had shone only awe as he gazed about the small clearing and then at me, surprise and delight at being shown such a thing. That clearing was a secret I'd held close to my heart for over a year before showing him and somehow he sensed how much trust I'd given him, the grin pulling across his face making up for the butterflies that had been threatening to erupt from my stomach.

After that, he would often come find me in the clearing, his attention solely on me as I would tell him about whatever book I was reading or some incredible idea I'd had for a sci-fi movie. Sometimes I'd talk him into acting out bits of shows or plays, enrapt at his knack for voice inflection. Once he started high school, he started having less time for the clearing, though I didn't begrudge that I saw him less.

I mean, I was four years younger than him; I understood he had more important things to do.


The day Pudge left, Ken herded me into his truck before driving over to Pudge's trailer. I'd never been invited inside but once when we were much younger, before I knew what it meant for someone to be self-conscious.

Pudge's trailer was one of those sitting on cinder blocks, a dirt track leading nearly to the front door. His mother's car was in better care than the house, rusted through in spots, the tires bald, and one window taped over with plastic to keep moisture out of a deep crack.

Inside, the trailer had smelled of old cigarettes and bean farts, his mother asleep on the threadbare brown couch as we tiptoed past to his room. Pudge's room was clean, his bed made with crisp corners and all his books and trinkets lined up in shelves made from pieces of wood and cinderblock.

We sat on his bed and thumbed through a collection of bad sci-fi comics he'd rescued from a trashcan; our talking woke his mother who burst into his room and started yelling, her voice nearly unintelligible as she screamed profanity at him.

To this day, I remember his face as he nodded, saying, "Yes, Mom," over and over, cheeks burning bright once she left us alone. I was anxious, thinking it my fault, but he shook his head and said she was always like that, that he was sorry but I'd have to go.

I left and he never invited me back.

It took me years to realize he was ashamed and I always wished I could tell him it didn't matter, it didn't make him any less to me.

When we pulled up outside, his mother's car was gone and Pudge sat in the open doorway, elbows on his knees as he waited. Ken hopped out and I followed suit, watching Pudge pull himself to his feet and disappear back inside. My brother hesitated just a moment before following and I wondered if he'd ever been invited over too.

The inside was much as I remembered, though the television appeared new and the smell was one of dust. Pudge's room hadn't changed much either, though he'd added shelves onto his now-empty bookcase. Boxes of books sat neatly stacked on the floor next to the door, two large duffels sitting on the precisely made bed. Everything else was left alone, pittance items gained through childhood and adolescence.

"These going with?" Ken asked, indicating the duffels, and Pudge nodded. My brother picked up both and slung them over his shoulder, glancing at me before he left to take the bags to the truck. I felt awkward, a lump in the my throat to think about how much I'd miss my brother's best friend.

He smiled, mild as he pointed at the boxes, "Those are for you, Tyler, all my books and comics. Can't take them with me, and well, I know you'll take care of them."

I was stunned; Pudge's collection had been massive, his most treasured possession.

"I…are you sure?"

He smiled again, warmer than before; "No one else I want to have them. Just you."

I grinned, suddenly not too embarrassed to go over and hug him, pleased that he returned it as enthusiastically.

"Ty, I…."

I pulled back from the hug, looking at him expectantly, but he just shook his head.

"Remember to write me, kid."

I nodded; "Of course."

"Alright. Let's start carrying these boxes."

Ken was leaning against the side of his truck when we stepped out with the boxes, his eyebrows rising.

"What're these?"

"Pudge's giving me his books!"

I was excited, catching a strange look between the two friends but used to such nonverbal communication between them. Pudge shrugged around his box and Ken shook his head, muttering something to him as he passed by and entered the trailer to help with the rest.

When we had everything loaded up we set off for the bus station, me sandwiched between Pudge and Ken. They talked shop awhile, about Pudge living in a dorm, how he'd have to take a bus from the station to campus, how he'd applied for a job working in the campus bookstore.

I listened, used to being in the background, but during a lull I finally asked, "What are you studying?"

He looked at me and grinned; "Everything."

I knew he was joking but part of me believed it; if Pudge decided to know everything there was to know, he'd be the one to do it.

Too soon we reached the station, Ken pulling the bags from the back of the truck and hauling them to the waiting platform; he walked fast and with a stiff back, leaving Pudge and I to bring up the rear.

"He's going to be okay," I said, seeing sadness in Pudge's face.

He smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes; "Yes, but it doesn't make this any easier."

No, it didn't.

We sat and waited with him, nobody saying anything but all of us feeling the heaviness of impending goodbye. Lead sank my stomach when the bus pulled up, Pudge crinkling his ticket in nervousness while we watched people depart. When the bus allowed people to start boarding we stood, Pudge grabbing his bags in one hand.

"Well…this is it."

He looked at both of us, uncertain as to how to say goodbye, but Ken just moved close and hugged him, a tight, unhappy frown on his face. When Ken finally let go, Pudge mimed a punch at his stomach, grinning a bit when my brother appropriately flinched with a small smile. I stood there, awkward all over again, but Pudge grinned and pulled me into a hug as well, strong and comfortable, and I was hit with the longing to say anything that might make him stay.

There was nothing, so I let him go, and we watched him board the bus.

We watched until the bus was gone, and then we got back in the truck and head home in silence.


Ken withdrew from our family for a while, staying in his room for hours on end until he performed a one-eighty, suddenly never home except on rare occasions. Our parents worried but he never came home smelling of alcohol or drugs, so they figured he'd come around in time.

They were right; it only took a few months, but he gradually calmed down enough to get a job, working as many hours as he could. It was nearly June that he started dating a girl, September before he brought her around to meet our folks.

By October, they were living together in an apartment and Ken was back to how he used to be before Pudge left.

I was a freshmen that year, having to deal with being known as 'Ken Mathews' kid brother' as well as trying to shake a label as sci-fi geek when I made the mistake of bringing some of Pudge's books to read during classes. I was invited to chess club, which made my self-esteem cringe, and FFA, which all boys were initially recruited for in their freshmen year.

I turned down both but couldn't resist yearbook, which is where I met Henry. He was in charge of the layout committee where I started out; as there were just three of us, we ended up spending a lot of time together. After a couple of weeks the other kid dropped yearbook, leaving just Henry and I in charge of layout.

He opened up a lot more when it was just the two of us, inviting me over to his house so often I stopped trying to refuse.


"Why do you always bring a book when you come over?"

I looked up from the novel in my lap, seeing Henry spread across his bed and looking down at where I sat on the floor.

"Because you always want to watch TV," I responded.

He stared at me a moment before asking, "Then why do you always come over?"

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure. Well, actually, I had a feeling why, but it sounded pretty ridiculous in my head.

"Tyler, you…like me, right?"

He sounded unsure, and I allowed an honest grin to spread across my face, "Yeah, I do."


"Sure. You're my friend, aren't you?"

His face twisted into a strange expression and he sat up, staring at me a moment more before sliding off the bed and in front of me.

"That's not what I meant."


He said nothing, face slowly turning pink, and I suddenly understood.

"Oh. …Well…yes."

He smiled, relieved; "Okay. Because I thought we were dating but you never acted like it so I thought maybe you didn't really like me like that."

I blinked; "You thought we were dating?"

"Well, yes."

He had never so much as shown me he had an inclination for boys, nevertheless for me.

"…You never even asked me."

"Oh. …I thought you were just too embarrassed to ask."

I was silent, feeling his eyes watching me as I tried to sort everything out.

Finally, I said, "So, you're my boyfriend?"


I grinned, butterflies hatching in my stomach as I saw his bright smile return. We sat there a moment before I closed my book with deliberate care, taking my time and looking him in the eye. Moving, I went from sitting to leaning forward, my eyes closing as I pressed my mouth against his. He was surprised but responded well, warming into the kiss.

It was my first, and from his awkwardness, I got the feeling it was his too, which made me feel flushed all over.


Pretty soon, it seemed that any time spent with Henry was spent making out. We gave each other hand jobs before December and graduated to blow jobs by January. I was okay without going further, loving it when my head was between his legs and his dick was in my mouth, his hand in my hair as he'd whimper into orgasm.

He started hinting at wanting to do more by the time the snow began to melt, though I always played at not understanding.

To be honest, the thought of letting someone put their dick in my butt scared me; I had it in my head that it would probably hurt. A lot. I could tell from his eagerness that it was me he wanted to fuck, not the other way around, so I put him off as long as I could. It helped that we didn't have someplace to be alone long enough; it was alright doing blowjobs in our bedrooms, knowing we could be quick enough to avoid being caught. But sex? That was something entirely different.


"All I'm saying is this other shit is getting kinda boring, Tyler. Not that I don't like it, I'm not saying that, but it's not as fun as it used to be."

Henry was angry, frustrated with how I'd continuously slide out of talking about having sex.

"I know, I just…where could we go?"

It was my last hope, my last stall, my hand on my elbow as I watched him shake his head and get up from my bed.

"Whatever, Tyler. It's obvious you don't care about me as much as you say you do."

"Wait, that's not what I mean! Henry…."

He turned, facing me; "If you loved me, you'd be trying to figure out how we could do it. If not…well, you're smart, I think you understand what I mean."

I paled, gut clenching; "…I think I know a place. We can…we can go Friday."

He smiled, no longer angry as he came and kissed me.

"It's going to be good, Tyler, just wait, it'll be really fun."

I nodded, feeling sick but terrified he'd break up with me if I backed out again.


He groused about having to walk through so many fields, complained about the overgrown pine forest, and bitched about how difficult it was to get to my clearing. I'd not been since before Pudge left and had to search for the overgrown path I'd used so often.

Once inside the clearing I waited to see his reaction, but his eyes were on nothing but me.

It felt kind of good, actually, knowing just the thought of sex with me made him so horny it was all he could think about. I sort of wanted it too, though still felt apprehension about how much it might hurt. He kissed me, hungry and eager, and where I might have trembled with pleasure before, I felt sick and clammy, trying desperately to hide how much I really didn't want to go through with it.

Instead, I let him move his hands to my jeans, his fingers jerky with anticipation and making me have to do it instead, pushing my jeans down so I could step out of them. He fumbled with his pants but had better success than he had with mine, his underwear quick to follow.

"Get me wet, okay?"

Face burning, I sank to my haunches and took his dick into my mouth, doing my best to put as much of my saliva on him as I could. Part of me hoped he'd somehow forget and come in my mouth, ruining his chance of fucking me, but he pushed me away before that happened.

"Okay…let's do it on our knees, okay?"

I felt myself nodding, body detached from my mind as I turned and lowered to my hands and knees, face burning as I felt him get into place behind me. When he tried to push his dick inside nothing happened but a feeling of pressure, making him swear and push harder until something seemed to pop and he was suddenly inside.

It hurt as much as I'd feared, maybe more, but it happened too fast for me to even cry out, my face scrunched tight as he pushed the rest of the way inside.

"Oh, fuck, Tyler, oh god, this is good, this is hot."

It made me feel worse, tears welling up in my eyes as he started to move, his words washing over my skin and branding me unclean. It didn't stop hurting until he was almost done; by the time he grunted and came in my ass, I was waiting for him to hurry up and get out.

When he finally pulled away I sat on the grass, mind blank as I realized I was no longer a virgin, that I'd hated every second of him fucking me.

He groaned, a dopey smile on his face as he said, "Damn, that was really hot, you were really good. …Did you come? Want me to suck you off?"

My dick had shriveled even before he penetrated, but I shook my head, voice distant as I lied, "I came."

"Cool. Told you it'd be good, didn't I?"

I nodded, getting up and putting my pants back on. I knew he'd want to fuck again, and though I dreaded it already, I knew it was better than not having him at all. Before we left the clearing, he touched my face, fingers gentle as he kissed me.

"Thank you, Tyler, I love you."

I felt tears come to my eyes and he smiled, kissing me once more before letting me lead the way back out.

a/n: until next time.