Disclaimer: This story involves love, relationship, and "adult" subject matter between teenage boys... so I guess that means your not supposed to read this if your under 18, but really if you are younger than that, I can't stop you. Just Don't Get Caught :) If homosexuality offends you, then leave, or join the 21st century, and open up to it.
This Is FICTION... any character resembling a real life person is by coincidence, and in the rare event a character is based on someone in real life their name has been changed due to legal and personal protection. You never know who's lurking around reading this. So now the little spiel is over so hopefully you'll enjoy this. Do Not Reproduce this story, and if you would like to have it on your web site, email me & get my permission. Thanks. Copyright © Jaded Edge Productions™
Sometimes the lyrics of a song can say how we feel better than we can say ourselves. For every emotion that can plague us at any given point, there always seems to be that one song that will come on the radio or become noticeable on a cd that sums up everything inside. Whether it be happy or sad, mad or discontent, music can touch our souls at our highs and lows like nothing else.
Not As We
Noah laid on his bed with a pair of ear bud headphones protruding from his ears, his eyes shut tight in an effort to keep out the world around him. Getting lost in the sound coming from his mp3 player was his only concern. It was all he could do to keep himself balanced. His life had been turned upside down and the chances of it changing anytime in the near future were slim to none in his eyes.
Trying to keep up a facade is a lot more difficult than some imagine. Always having to live up to who people think you are; In Noah's case, the charming, funny, lovable boy that everyone seemed to adore. He never had a problem being himself before, but he also never had to deal with losing anyone he cared about either. Not on the level of of his best friend.
Noah sighed and rolled over onto his stomach. He looked at the interface on his mp3 player, envying it for a few moments. He would give anything to have a fast forward or rewind button. To be able to go back to how things were or to skip past all of this pain was one wish he would give just about anything for. Unfortunately, that's not how humans are assembled. There's no going back in life, it will always be stuck on play until ultimately the batteries die.
Noah pressed his cheek to the cushy surface of a pillow firmly, willing for a peace that sleep could offer. Trying to fall asleep at 7 in the evening was a lot easier said than done, especially for someone not used to winding down for another 4 hours. Noah grabbed another pillow and put it over his face, encompassing himself in darkness. A pang shot through his heart causing him to groan out in frustration, tossing the pillow from his face and sitting up abruptly. He ripped the ear buds from his ears roughly, letting them fall to the bed without so much as a sound. He ran his hands over his face and up through his hair, trying to calm the stress that rapidly built within him.
"You know, there's better ways to relieve stress." Noah's hands dropped from his face, and his eyes darted around the dark room, looking for the source of the voice. The pillow Noah had thrown off just moments before came sailing back at him, clunking Noah gently in the face. Noah knocked the pillow away and followed the light that shined through his window. It seemed to form a straight line right to the source of intrusion.
A silhouette came into view in the corner of the room, propped up by the chair that normally would have been used for dealings with the computer. The long hair waved under the light and a subtle glimmer flashed over the boy's eyes. Noah scowled and scrunched his forehead, "What the hell are you doing in my room, Tobey?"
"Watching you hurt pillows. What's it look like?" Tobey moved further into the light, rolling the chair along the wooden floor. A cheeky grin adorned his face.
Noah glared at him, "Funny. I didn't realize you were into breaking and entering."
"I didn't realize you assumed so many things," Noah shot Tobey an annoyed look, "Your mom let me in."
"Why would my mom let you in when she knew that I was sleeping?"
"Well, that question is void because you weren't sleeping."
"Why are you such a know it all?"
"Why do you ask so many questions?"
"Why can't you answer them instead of talking in circles?" Noah challenged.
"Because circles have no beginnings and no ends."
"What the fuck does that mean?"
"It means whatever you want it to mean."
"I really dislike you," Noah growled, but Tobey's smile never faltered. "And stop smiling!"
"I like to smile. You should try it sometime."
The anger within Noah grew quickly. Tobey never seemed to be anything, but happy. That in itself was enough to justify any resentment to Noah, "I'm sorry I don't smile all the time. Maybe it's because some weird guy is sitting in my room, playing games with my head as usual. Oh and that same person stole my best friend. Yeah, pardon me for not putting on my Joker face."
Tobey stood from the chair and walked toward the bed, then sat on the edge just a couple of feet from Noah, "Being pissed off all the time isn't going to change things."
"No, but it's all I've got."
"How's that working out for you then?"
"It's a party. Are you going to ever get to what you're doing here?"
"I came to see you."
"You've seen me, so you can leave now."
"I could, but I'm not going to. Not yet anyway."
Noah sighed again, "What do you want from me, Man? You're Mr. Popular now, you've got Matéo, you can do no wrong. What more do you want?"
"I want you to be happy."
Noah raised an eyebrow, "Why?"
"I didn't steal Matéo, Noah, and I certainly didn't come to town to hurt you. That's the last thing I want to do."
"Obviously you didn't move here to do those things. That's a by product of you coming here."
"Maybe, but there's a lot you don't understand."
"In time, my friend."
"Ugh! This is exactly why I don't like you."
"I suppose you don't have to like me, but it'd be a lot easier for Matéo if you tried."
"Don't talk to me about what's best for Matéo. I know him better than you ever will."
Tobey smiled at Noah's guard dog mentality, "I never claimed to know him better than you. I care about Matéo and believe it or not I care about you. You just have been so busy making me the bad guy, that you would never know it."
"You don't even know me."
"I know enough. I know that you'd give anything to make sure Matéo is happy and I know that it's killing you to be away from him."
"I can't be around him with you."
"That's obviously your choice, but it's really not as bad as you make it out to be."
"He thinks he loves you."
"Maybe he does."
Noah huffed, "He doesn't know you! He knows some version of you that he dreamt up!"
Tobey slid onto the bed and propped himself up against the headboard, "You need to stop hating me for something I can't control."
"Then back off of Matéo."
"I can't do that."
"Why?!?" Noah moved around on the bed so he was on his knees, looking down on Tobey.
"It doesn't matter why. I'm not going to hurt him, Noah. That's one thing I can promise you. I will never hurt Matéo."
Noah downcast his eyes, then slumped down on the bed next to Tobey, "Why can't you be an asshole so I can really hate you?"
Tobey giggled, "I can be an asshole as much as you can. I tend to like the other side of things better though. I don't see the point in being angry all of the time."
"I don't like it either..."
"Then stop it. Things are hard right now, but it doesn't mean that you have to say fuck the world."
Noah tried to keep it in, but he couldn't stifle the laugh that escaped his throat, "You've sworn more in the last five minutes than I've heard you do in the whole time I've known you."
"Does that mean you love me now?" Tobey teased.
"Not a chance. Maybe I don't hate you. Maybe."
"I'll take that for now."
Silence fell over the room, nothing to be heard besides the faint breathing from both boys. Noah glanced over at Tobey who just stared up at the ceiling, "Are you going to leave now?"
Tobey rolled to his side, "Have you gotten all of the anger out of your system?"
"It depends, if I say no, are you planning on camping out in my bed all night?"
"Are you offering?"
"No.. and I don't know what you think that was an offer for."
"Camping? That involves pitching tents right?"
"I'm not getting gay with you."
"Someone else got your eye then?"
Noah reached over and punched Tobey in the arm, "It's not easy to just be okay with everything."
"I didn't say it was easy, but it will be. Like I said, Noah. In time."
"Yeah. You just had to end it vaguely didn't you?"
Tobey stood up from the bed and brushed the wrinkles out of his clothes, "It's what I do. Think about what we talked about and I'll be seeing you. Hopefully Matéo will too."
Tobey walked out of the room, shutting the bedroom door behind him. Noah stared at the door for a moment before rummaging around his bed spread. When his hand came to what he was looking for he grabbed it and laid back. His head hit the pillow as music started filling his ears. This time though, the small bit of hope that had formed inside let his mind rest peacefully for the first time in a long time.
Matéo walked over the cool cement of the sidewalk, going against Tobey's advice of watching where he was going. Instead Matéo kept his eyes planted firmly upon his shoes, padding their way one in front of another. Getting lost in such a simple movement seemed to be commonplace for him since life had seemingly been turned upside down.
A car horn honked as the vehicle passed, but Matéo didn't even bother to look up. It didn't really matter who was in the car or why they felt the need to make their presence known to him. The people that mattered to Matéo were few and far between and had one of them been in the car, they would've stopped to get his attention. Not exactly the mindset most people would choose to take, but Matéo never was one to fall in line with the crowds.
Things were looking up for him in most ways, but most importantly to him, on the love front. Tobey was everything Matéo knew he was since they had met, regardless of what anyone else said to make him believe otherwise. For once in his life he felt truly alive. Having someone to run to when he was down, to calm his fears without judgment was all he ever wanted. Now he had it and he didn't have to worry about looking over his shoulder every waking moment hoping that he wouldn't do something wrong.
Matéo stopped walking briefly, his eyes catching sight of his old home. The property hadn't been touched since the last time Matéo had stopped by after he was released from the hospital. Matéo's father remained in lockup awaiting trial, so there was no one to keep the house in order. So many bad memories swirled inside of Matéo just from looking at the only home he had ever known. The beatings were the easy part, the emotional abuse that had been placed upon him throughout his young life was enough to destroy most people.
Matéo jumped as a hand grasped his shoulder. He wheeled around as fast as possible, pulling away from the grip, preparing for the worst. "Whoa there," Tobey raised his hands in surrender.
Matéo let out a sigh of relief, bringing a hand up over his chest, "You almost gave me a heart attack."
Tobey grinned, "We can't have that. You were off in space per usual, I thought you would've heard me coming. I did beep the horn at you. I swear we're going to get you counseling for your apparent foot fetish," Tobey poked fun at Matéo causing his cheeks to flush.
"Shut up," Matéo pouted. "I don't like feet. I just appreciate the movement of the body."
"You realize how easy it would be to take that in the wrong context don't you?" Tobey laughed.
Matéo buried his face against his shoulder, exasperated, "I can never win with you."
Tobey stepped closer, slipping an arm around Matéo's waist, "Funny, I thought that you already did win."
Matéo tensed, but quickly relaxed. He smiled slightly at Tobey, looking into the boy's eyes, "How do you mean?"
"I mean, you have me don't you? I'd say that's a pretty good prize," Tobey's cheeky smile spread, causing his cheeks to rise and his eyes to sparkle.
"Do I?" Matéo questioned.
"You have to ask?"
Tobey put a finger to Matéo's lips, "Nothing else matters, Matéo. I'm here with you aren't I?" Matéo nodded, "Then yes, you have me. I don't see anyone else."
"I just don't want you to feel like you have to do this for me. If.. If you're not ga.."
Tobey sighed, showing a small sign of frustration before seemingly blowing off the comment altogether, "Come with me." Tobey took Matéo by the hand and gently tugged on him. Matéo let himself be led, but not without reservations. Especially when he saw the direction they were heading.
Matéo started to pull away, but Tobey's grip tightened on his hand, "Tobey, I don't want to.." Matéo's eyes widened and his stomach twisted into a giant knot as they crossed the street and stepped onto the front lawn of his property.
Tobey stopped and turned toward Matéo, "It's okay, Téo. Everything is going to be okay now. No one is going to hurt you while I'm around." Matéo swallowed, trying to force the fear away and before he knew it, his feet were moving forward toward the place he feared most. Tobey stopped at the front door, turned his head to look at Matéo with a comforting smile, then turned the knob to open the door. Matéo found it odd that the door was unlocked, but followed Tobey inside.
Upon stepping into the living room, Matéo's eyes scanned the surroundings. It looked exactly as it had when he last was there with Derek, except for two glaring omissions. The picture that was shattered on the floor of his younger self was sitting on the end table in an unbroken frame. Matéo furrowed his brow then let his eyes come up to rest upon the wall that he himself had been driven into hard enough to cause a protrusion into the room he now stood in. He moved tentatively over to the wall and ran his hand along the surface, now perfectly smooth and level with the rest of the area around it. He glanced back at Tobey who was leaning casually against the door frame of the hallway, "This.. was.. Did I imagine the wall being damaged before?" Matéo felt his heart tighten with anxiety, the fears of his memory being worse off than the doctor had told him setting in.
Tobey walked over to Matéo swiftly, taking a hand and pushing Matéo's chin up so their eyes were level, "No, Matéo. Derek and I came over one weekend and fixed it. We didn't want you to have to experience that moment every time you walked into your house if you ever decide to move back."
"I-- There's too many bad memories here, Tobey. I don't know if I'll ever be okay enough to live here again."
Tobey hugged Matéo's body against his, rubbing Matéo's back to soothe him. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Besides that, I doubt the state would be letting you live here alone without supervision until you're of age. So, I hope Derek doesn't snore too loudly for you, because I think you're stuck for awhile longer."
Matéo giggled a little bit, "He does snore kind of loud."
Tobey smiled widely, "What's that? Was that a... laugh? From Matéo Consuelos? Should I alert the newspapers? My little mexican got his smile on?"
Matéo laughed louder, "You're a jerk. I'm not mexican!"
"That's what you say. I know better. Now come," Tobey once again led Matéo by the hand, this time to the bottom of the stairway that went up to Matéo's room, "I'd carry you, but I think we'd both probably end up in a heap right back here where we started."
"Does that mean you think I'm fat or that you're weak?"
Tobey feigned a look of shock, "Did you just make a joke? What is this world coming to?" Without warning Tobey leaned into Matéo and picked him up, draping him over his shoulder. Tobey steadily made his way up the stairs with little struggle, then pushed Matéo's bedroom door open with his foot. Matéo's face was facing away from the room, so Tobey set him down and held Matéo nose to nose with him. "I wanted to bring you here because I know how much pain you've gone through in this house. Had I been able to stop it I would have, Matéo. I'd give anything to take away the abuse that you've endured. I know that I can't do that, but it doesn't mean that I can't try."
Matéo furrowed his brow and turned around. His eyes grew with surprise, taking in the room that he spent most of his life hiding from his dad in. Curtains had been hung, darkening the room, but light soon started appearing in small bursts as Tobey moved around the perimeter, lighting candles at each stop. Under the illumination, Matéo looked down at the bedspread where a line of red skittles were set in one continuos shape, a heart. A single red rose sat in the middle of them. Matéo's eyes moved to Tobey who just nodded toward the bed, urging Matéo to pick up the rose. As Matéo picked up the blooming flower, a small card fell from between the petals. He picked the card up and read a single line on the front of it: Look up.
Matéo's eyes were met with the sight of dozens upon dozens of roses hanging from the canopy bed frame. He moved forward, the scent of the flowers filling his nostrils, causing a smile to play over his lips. The roses directly in front of him had pictures attached to them. He gently grasped the first one in his line of sight and looked at it. It was a picture of two young kids, one with dirty blonde hair, the other with the dark hair he still had today. Tobey walked up behind Matéo and let his arms drape around his waist, his hand dangling over Matéo's pubic region. "Recognize them?"
"Yes. Me and.."
"Yep. All of these pictures are of you and the people that mean something to you, but more importantly, they're all pictures of you being happy."
Matéo's eyes watered with each picture he looked at it. The tears didn't stay in place long, soon drifting over the brims of his eyes and down over the caramel skin of his face. Tobey turned Matéo around so he could see his face and for once Matéo didn't try to hide his tears. "Thank you."
Tobey smiled sweetly, letting his thumb gently run across Matéo's cheeks, sweeping the tears away. "I know how much pain this place brings, but I wanted you to know that it's different now. You can start new with a happy memory and forget everything that hurt you before it." Tobey broke away from Matéo momentarily to walk over to the computer desk, grab something then walk back over. He waved a camera in the air for Matéo to see, "What do you say we add one more picture?"
"Okay." Matéo let his head rest against Tobey's, while the long haired boy that made his heart sore held the camera out in front of them.
"Smile." The flash lit up the room briefly, making both boys see spots. Tobey turned into Matéo and pushed him down on to the bed with his own body weight. Matéo didn't have time to regain his bearings before his body hit the fluffy comforter, and Tobey's body laid on top of him. Matéo went to speak, but was silenced when the smooth flesh of Tobey's lips slipped over his own. No more words were spoken, the only sound in the room was that of two people lost in one another, their silhouettes dancing upon the walls under the candles' flickering flames.
Standing in front of Hooper School taking in the site of the large brick structure set atop it's seemingly endless manicured lawn could be a daunting task for any student that would be held there for at least six hours of their day. The school's name stood in stark contrast to the walls that it had been placed upon, crowning the archway doors that allowed access to the building. Some people hated the moment they saw those words, cursing the education system that made it mandatory to spend 12 years of their lives taking standardized tests. Other's seemed to enjoy their years of schooling, either for the knowledge they gained or the social interaction that it brought.
The campus was relatively dead, school having let out already with nothing, but the ghostly footprints upon the frosty grass left to prove that anyone had been there earlier in the day. The only noise in the area could be heard coming from behind the school where the football field took up residence. Bleachers lined each side of the field, one usually used by the home team's fans and the other by the visiting team's, a setup that served the purpose of keeping scuffles between the two sides' fans down to a minimum. It was the place to be every other Friday night, everyone who was anyone had to be seen there and anyone who wasn't saw their popularity level drop a notch.
Today however the field was the only part of the area that was occupied. The football team used the full extent of the field to run the last few plays they had to complete the tail end of their daily practice. Bodies clashed together like warriors in battle, leaving nothing on the field in the name of getting the ball into the end zone. Any sport could be seen as a form of violence or art, but in most cases ended up being a mixture of both, people just failing to realize it. Derek always played hard, whether at a practice or a game. It was how he was taught to play by his brothers and father growing up and he carried that experience into his high school football career. It was a stark contrast to who he was outside of the field, as to anyone that knew him on a closer level knew that Derek was kind, passionate and caring as can be.
The final whistle cut through the brisk air signaling the end of the day's practice, halting the players where they stood. Some walked slowly across the field, some lagged behind, falling to the ground in exhaustion. Derek on the other hand trotted lightly over the turf toward the sidelines, removing his helmet in stride. He sat down on the bench and wiped his forehead with a towel before gulping down some gatorade to replace some of the electrolytes he expended out on the field. A few of his teammates nodded at him and said goodbye while they made their way to the locker room, knowing that Derek always stayed behind to wind down from practice. He was well liked among his peers, not a typical jock stereotype that liked to harass others that he felt were beneath him. His grades were good and he wasn't hurting for attention when it came to the ladies. Life was good for him.
"Aren't you cold sitting out here like that?" Derek turned his head and was greeted by a sight lovely to his eyes.
"Derek just likes sitting out in the cold air with his skimpy pads on. It makes us girls fawn you know." Marissa and Arianna walked over to Derek smiling widely, the teasing common among them.
"So it makes you fawn, does it? If only I had known, I would've started wearing less every practice," Derek greeted the girls with his own warm smile.
"We wouldn't want you to catch pneumonia stripper boy."
"I think I'll make it. You guys just get out of a Key meeting?" Derek ran a hand through his messy hair while speaking.
"Yeah, it ran a little late, but it's actually pretty normal. They should just officially change the end time of it so people aren't squirming to get out by the end of it," Said Marissa.
"Hey now, common sense would be too much for some people to handle," Derek joked. His eyes held a playful gleam that shined back like a mirror in Marissa's eyes.
"It's okay, I'm too much to handle for most people."
"Is that right?"
Back at the front of the school, Noah walked over the glazed over grass leading from the courtyard toward the back of the building. The ground crunched beneath his shoes with every step, giving him something to focus on besides the breathy mist that snuck out of his mouth with each exhale. He thought it would be a good day to spend some time with Derek, even though the chance of running into Matéo increased by doing that. In a way maybe he subconsciously wanted to run into Matéo. Noah shook the thought off, feeling guilty about reducing his intentions of hanging out with Derek down to basically using him to get to Matéo. Derek had proved to be a good friend who was there when needed and lately that was often. Between Tobey's unending aura of mystery and Matéo's distance, Noah didn't have many people that he could just really talk to and not have to worry about what they thought about him.
Noah rounded the corner of the building, the football field just a few yards away and immediately took notice of the three figures standing on the sidelines. Derek had a big smile on his face in mid laugh with Marissa standing in front of him mimicking the same emotion. They seemed involved in whatever they were joking about while Arianna oddly stood facing in another direction. Almost as if she was looking right at Noah. Noah looked back at her squinting a bit, and noticed that indeed she was standing looking straight ahead staring hard at him while the other two were off in their own world. Noah kept moving forward when something stopped him dead in his tracks. The laughter died down and as if time slowed, a scene played out in front of Noah that made his soul go cold. Marissa hugged Derek and Derek in turn placed his arms around her slim waist, delicately rubbing his hand over the small of her back. The embrace to the casual observer would seem harmless, but Noah noticed the intimacy in which they held each other. There was something to be said for the softness that their touch held and if any doubt was left, it was erased a moment later. Noah glanced to Arianna once again, her stare cold and hard seemed to burn into Noah's thoughts. She snapped her head in the direction of Marissa and Derek causing Noah's gaze to follow just in time to see Derek's lips slip over Marissa's. Marissa didn't push him away. Not even a flinch.
Noah looked back to Arianna, except she was no longer there. He scanned the area, but for all intensive purposes the girl that had been standing there moments prior had managed to disappear without so much as a sound. Noah didn't have much time to think about it before he felt himself moving forward led by a fury in his stride. Noah felt his legs move faster until he was upon the two kissing. He leapt over the bench and shoved Derek away from Marissa, nearly toppling the both of them over. Marissa steadied herself and Derek caught his legs before they fell out from under him. His eyes furrowed, confused at first by what just happened, then they locked with Noah's. "Noah?"
Noah's eyes held a picture of hurt and anger that one couldn't fake, "Yeah, Noah. Everyone's fucking punching back apparently."
"Noah.." Marissa tried to put a hand on his shoulder, but he knocked it away roughly.
"Don't touch me, Marissa. You kissed him.. Y-You were fucking kissing him!!" Noah's voice wavered, but the anger held up over the pain.
Derek stepped up beside Marissa and put his arm around her, "Dude, are you okay?"
Noah nearly laughed at the absurdity of the question, "Am I okay? Do I look okay, Derek?!? Get your arm off of my girl before I remove it permanently."
"Noah, what are you talking about?"
"Which part didn't you get, asshole? You pretend to be the good guy, the great, sensitive friend when you're really trying to take my girlfriend behind my back!"
Marissa and Derek glanced at each other with a look of worry plastered over their faces. Marissa stepped toward Noah taking his hand in hers, "Noah, sweety, you and I broke up.. We've been broken up for awhile. Derek and I have been dating and you know that."
"What?" Noah looked at them like they were crazy. "You're joking right? At a time like this you're cracking jokes.." Noah felt his knees weaken, so he sat down on the bench.
Marissa sat down next to him and Derek did as well. Noah looked between the both of them, the burning of tears clawing to the surface not understanding what was happening. Everything was wrong, nothing was what it seemed anymore and if anyone felt crazy it was Noah.
Off in the distance, standing against the wall of the school building facing the football field stood Tobey. He watched the three sit there trying to make sense out of what had just transpired. The pain in Noah was evident, the fear even more so. Tobey sighed lightly, with a light frown adorning his normally smiley face, then turned the corner disappearing out of sight.
The day had turned into night almost without warning, or more likely without notice, blocked out by a mind in turmoil. Noah wandered the streets aimlessly, not really concerned with anything accept getting the thoughts in his head out. The world had turned upside down starting with Matéo's assault and hadn't stopped flipping around ever since. Nothing made sense and the thought of insanity played through Noah's mind. It seemed the only plausible explanation to the ongoings of the recent months. Tears streamed freely over his face like the steady current of a river, a seemingly never ending supply emitting from the broken dam of his eyes. The cold air started to make the condensation on his skin start to stick, but it was the least of his worries.
The sky was washed with a winter darkness, cut only by the illumination of headlights as cars passed by without notice of the crying boy walking on the sidewalk beside them. A car passed Noah and stopped ten feet ahead of him. Noah glanced at it, but didn't pay it any mind before the car backed up until it was even with where Noah was standing. Noah stopped momentarily, but then continued walking forward.
Matéo stepped out of the car, and hit the car alarm button on the key remote. The sound of the horn beeping startled Noah, causing him to turn around. Matéo had stepped onto the sidewalk directly into Noah's line of sight causing Noah's heart to flutter with emotions. Sadness, excitement, fear, hope.. they all traded places back and forth with the sight of Matéo standing there in front of him.
"Do you need a ride?" Matéo asked.
Noah said nothing for a moment, still unable to process Matéo being there. He shook his head and found his voice, "N-No."
Matéo frowned a bit, "Oh, okay." Both boys seemed frozen in place in a silent standoff.
"Maybe you could walk with me?" Noah asked timidly.
Matéo nodded with a slight smile before taking his place by Noah's side. Neither of them said a word, just walked, without an intended destination. Noah's mind relaxed considerably at the presence of his friend, but the nerves still bundled up because of the strain that had developed between them. He coughed a bit, the sound getting muffled in his throat. Matéo glanced at Noah as a car sped forward through the intersection they were waiting at. Noah caught Matéo's eyes, and Matéo looked away. He felt a pang of guilt creep up inside for having looked away so quickly.
Noah didn't turned off of the main road and Matéo moved to keep up. A trail led up off of a side street, cutting through the darkened woods that surrounded. Matéo felt no fear following Noah, something vaguely familiar about this path tugging at his head. Noah moved with grace through the dark, almost making it hard for Matéo to keep up, but every time he felt himself falling behind, Noah would pop up in front of him to make sure Matéo was there. Eventually they came upon a clearing that stopped abruptly in the form of a cliff. Noah walked forward standing a few feet from the edge, and Matéo moved beside him. A harsh chill came swooping up from the icy water below, biting at the boys' skin as they gazed down at the winding river.
Matéo turned toward Noah, gently placing a hand on Noah's arm, "Noah."
Noah turned to face Matéo, his face streaked from crying, a fresh batch escaping from his eyes. "Téo." Matéo pulled Noah into him, hugging him tightly. Noah's body shuddered with the sobs that emitted from deep within. His pain was no longer just his to bear at that moment. Matéo could feel the wave of emotion that had been built up inside Noah come rushing out in the only way it could.
Matéo ran a hand over the back of Noah's head trying to calm him, "It's okay. Everything is going to be okay, I promise."
"You can't promise that."
"Yes, I can. I just did. We'll be okay, Noah. You just have to trust me."
"I trust you more than anyone. I always have."
"I know." Snowflakes began to flutter down from the sky, falling against the light of the moon in a frenzy.
"I need you, Téo. I need you so much." Noah tightened his embrace, his face pressed against the nape of Matéo's neck.
"I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere. We're going to fix this."
"You're all I've got."
Matéo's lips played into a sweet smile, "You've got a lot, Noah. Things are just messed up right now."
"I just want everything to be normal again. I don't want to be alone anymore. I'm just lost."
"Never lost, Noah. Just like tonight, I'll always find you."
The two boys
stood under the falling snow, never once letting their embrace falter.
The comfort that passed between them was enough to keep any worries from
intruding. For at least that moment, everything was okay with their
world because both of them were in it together.
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