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Will Nature Make A Man Of Me Yet?

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Tom sort of had a grudge against his bicycle.

It was a rather worn 1989 Bianchi Giro in light blue (the only thing he did like about it) and it had been his brother Joe's before he had gotten a car. Tom wishes he had a car.

It wasn't that he was ungrateful for the bike, really. He just thought it was a sodding piece of shit with unruly handles, the most uncomfortable seat, and tires that needed patching every other day. Not to mention all the times it had, unfortunately, fucking embarrassed him. Just the other day for example, Tom had ridden to the shop around the corner to pick up eggs for his mum, and the steering fucked up like it always did. He landed straight into the fountain in front of a whole bunch of other teenagers, and had to ride home absolutely sopping.

He hated that bike. But, considering it was the only form of transportation he had, he used it. His mum and Joe shared Joe's 1985 Honda Civic, and Tom had failed his drivers test six times, so even if he wanted to use the car, he couldn't. He didn't understand why his mother couldn't just purchase him a new bike. They weren't loaded, sure, but the bike was pushing five years. Tom expressed his utter contempt for the damn bike loudly and clearly, and his mother always nodded along, telling him they'll replace it eventually. But they never did. Tom was stuck with the sodding thing. Nothing good had ever come of it.

Except for that one time.

Tom had been riding about the village, like he usually did when he had free time. It was late summer, so he was out of school, just a boy of eighteen. His birthday had been the fourteenth of October last year, and he was relishing in the fact he could legally drink. And smoke. That was a terrible habit he had picked up from Joe, and his mother absolutely couldn't stand it. As much as she hated it, though, their agreement was no smoking in the house, therefor she wouldn't pester him about it. Tom had been diving down hills, the wind whipping his hair from his eyes, taking in the village scenery. Stanton-On-Sea was nice this time of year, you could smell the hearty, powerful smell of the ocean, and the trees were all wonderfully green. It made Tom feel free, which he didn't feel very often, so he basked in such a thing. His tape player was going strong in his pocket, the cheapest headphones he could by clasped to his head. 'I Started Something I Couldn't Finish' by The Smiths was blaring, and Tom had half a mind to scream the lyrics.

The other half would be terribly embarrassed to.

He had been riding down Lucky Lane (a wonderful street name, Tom thought) when his bike's miserable luck decided to kick in. Next thing he knew, Tom went flying over somebody's bins, crashing into someone's mucky garden, covering himself in mud. He grimaced after finding his barrings, trying to swipe all the dirt he could from his jumper. Oh, his mother was going to be absolutely pissed about this stunt. Tom was muttering a string of filthy, filthy exclamations to himself, trying his best to fix his godawful bike, when he heard it.

Laughter. Strong, pure, downright busting at the seams laughter.

Tom turned on his heels, fully intending to tell whatever prick was laughing at him off, but he stopped.

Across the street was a quaint house, owned by Susan Schofield. She was one of the many older ladies in the village, and Tom knew her from church and his mother's bridge games. There was a truck parked out front her house, a Ford Tom thought. It was a warm brown with chestnut siding, and a terrible dent just ahead of the bumper. In the bed of the truck stood tons of boxes, all with labels on the sides in marker. Clothes. Books. Bedding.

Standing beside the truck, a box perched in his arms, stood a man in a navy blue jumper. The one laughing.

Tom's face balled up, and guiding his bike alongside him, and he stomped over to the man, all the while still covered in dirt. There were sticks in his hair too, he idly realizes, but he could deal with that later. Right now he was seething, more at the bike than anything, and the man's laughter just sent Tom into a terrible mood.

He makes his way across the road finally, and the man's laughter has died down, but he's still smiling, and the sunlight looks so nice on his face, and-

Tom realizes how attractive the man really is.

He was tall, taller than Tom at least, with strawberry blonde hair stuck out in thick, loose locks covering his head. His eyes were the shade of blue meant for teenage magazines to fawn over, and his smile was increasingly infectious. Fuck, since when had Tom started smiling? He was meant to be absolutely fuming right now! He laughs mirthlessly, and rubs the back of his neck, continuing to look the man over.

"You took quite the, ah, the tumble there, mate."

Oh shit, had Tom really just been staring at him just now? Tom laughs again, albeit a tad more nervously, and grips the handles of his terrible, awful, miserable, no good bike. 

"Guess so, yeah." Tom replies curtly, cocking his head to the side. "I'm fine, though, no need to offer a hand." He adds a bit passive aggressively, a peculiar smile still plastered to his face. The man before him shifts on his heels for a moment, clearly feeling a bit awkward now, before smiling again.

"Sorry for laughing, honest. I don't know what came over me." The man shrugs, and sets the box he's been holding into the back of his truck. Tom watches him carefully. "Wrong foot to start off on. I'm Will."

Tom continues to watch as the man extends a friendly hand, the man's faintly freckled face a peculiar mixture of emotions. Tom couldn't quite pin them down. Before he knows it, though, he's thrown out his own scuffed hands, and their skin connects.

"Tom Blake. Are you moving in with Ms. Schofield?" Tom asks politely, a faint sweat breaking down the back of his neck as their grasp disconnects. Will's hands were very soft. He does his best not to think about it, but to be fair, his best isn't very much.

"Yes, actually, she's my nan. Thought she might like having someone to dote upon," Will's face expression neutral, but Tom can tell by the crinkle about his eyes that it's meant to be a joke. So Tom laughs, leaning his weight onto his bicycle handles, heels scuffing the edge of the curb idly.

"But do you like being doted on?" Tom asks, his normal attitude slipping back into place. All those thoughts of tearing this guy a new one, or maybe even proper socking him in the face dissipated from Tom's mind. It'd be a shame to leave a bruise on a face like that, Tom thinks absentmindedly. His face goes flush before he even realizes what he thought, and he looks away.

"Not particularly." Will sighs heavily, before picking up the box from earlier. "Aces meeting you by the way, sorry about your bike, mate." Will nods down at the wheel of Tom's bike, and Tom follows his gaze, and oh, shit- The wheel is completely torn to shit. No amount of patching would fix that. Will must notice Tom's dismayed grimace, because he sighs again, holding the box to his hip.

"Shit, my mum'll be pissed," Tom starts, falling to his knees, fawning over the shredded rubber. Will looks around for a moment, before setting down his box on the sidewalk, and squatting down next to Tom. Tom groans heavily, his eyes drifting back over to Will. Oh, he was so close now. That fact makes Tom feel funny, and he doesn't know why. "I don't even live close to here. I'm all the way across town."

Will holds a hand to his chin, glancing back and forth between the torn wheel and Tom, before standing again. He sighs again, and Tom guesses he must do that a lot. "So how'll you get back home, then?" He asks politely, holding out a hand to help Tom up.

"If I could use your phone, I'll give my brother a ring, he can come get me." Tom answers, pulling himself to his feet with Will's help. A bit of the dirt from Tom's jumper cuff started coming off onto Will's, and Tom pulls his hand away, perhaps a bit too fast.

"We don't have a phone." Will states plainly. "Tell you what, though. Help me unload a couple boxes, I'll give you a lift home?"

Tom thinks it over for a moment.

"Sure."

 


 

Tom's excuse for arriving home so late that night is that he was a good lad, and helped Ms. Schofield's grandson move in. He doesn't tell his mum about how utterly fucked his bike is, or how absolutely huge of a liking he had taken to the man. He waits until after his mum's gone to bed to tell Joe about his bike, but he still leaves out the liking part. There was no use getting into those sorts of things with Joe or his mum. Tom quite frankly knew he wasn't normal, and never would be at this point. Joe simply swelled with laughter over Tom's idiocracy, and promised to help him fix the bike before their mother found out. It did absolutely fuck all for his nerves.

He lays by himself in bed that night, Walkman Sports playing an Echo & The Bunnymen tape, and wonders why the new boy had to be Will. They had spent the day unpacking his things, moving boxes to his room, that sort of thing. It would all be swell and good if Will Schofield was an arsehole, Tom could deal with that, but-

Will Schofield was terribly nice, he used to go to University in London, and he liked reading long, boring books. His favourite food is Tim-Tams dipped in coffee and his favourite tea is Lemon Ginger. Tom had painstakingly memorized these facts through relaxed conversation as he helped Will unpack, and painstakingly realized how quick of friends they had become.

Tom couldn't decide if he was pleased or miserable over this fact. Sure, he quite liked Will, he liked that he had a dry sense of humor and was self described as great at card games. He liked how the traces of what could have once been freckles stuck out when the sun sets. He likes how the man's hands looked gripping the wheel of his Ford. A 1980 F180, he had told Tom. That's what made this miserable, Tom decides. The fact that he really, really liked Will. Too much, already he liked him.

Tom had fallen painfully, dreadfully hard for a man he had just met.

 


 

That morning, while Tom was swallowing down a big bowl chocolate cereal, his mom tells him something that gets him a bit confused. He was going through his regular morning routine of filling himself to the brim with sugar, before dicking around in the park for a bit, when she spoke.

"Susan rang me, wanted to say what a doll you were yesterday." His mother tells him over her cup of tea, a tight, genuine grin pulled across her red lips. She was done up the way she usually was for work, her normally loose brown curls pulled into a careful, precise bun. She worked at the market in town, Somerfield's. She was always pestering him to get a job there, but he always declined. It was a bit lame to work with your mum like that. Not that Tom thought his mum was lame, a momma's boy such as him could never say such a thing.

"They don't have a phone," Tom replies without thinking, shoveling more chocolate covered whatevers into his mouth. It catches him after a moment. "That's what Will told me when I tried to call you."

"He's done up all wrong then, Suzy calls me every Sunday after church. You've heard us titter, I'm sure," She takes another sip of her tea, waving her hand about as if to dismiss him. "She asked if you would mind showing Will around, since you got on so well yesterday."

Tom thinks on it for a moment, before getting up. He tosses the rest of his cereal in the trash, and shoves his dishes in the sink.

"Tommy dear, where in the world are you going?" Mrs. Blake asks quaintly, an amused look pulling on the corners of her lips. She sets her mug down on the table, and crosses on leg over the other, straightening her calf length skirt.

Tom turns around, and gives her a small, obligatory grin.

"I've got to get dressed if I'm showing him around."

Chapter Text

By time Tom's dressed, his mum's about to head off to work. Joe's still sleeping in the upstairs bedroom, and because he works nights, their mother takes the car. She gives Tom a quick peck on the cheek before heading out, and it's only then that Tom realizes that he doesn't have a way to meet up with Will.

That's why it's such a relief to see Susan Schofield's number written in perfect printed cursive on a notepad in the kitchen. Tom wastes no time in dialing it up, praying to God that Will picks up.

He does.

"Hello?" Says a soft voice on the other line, unmistakably Will's. Tom can feel his lips quirk into a quaint little smile, and rather suddenly, he feels a bit foolish. Was it strange of him to call since they had only met yesterday? Tom briefly wonders so, before remembering he needs to respond.

"Hi hi, it's Tom. From yesterday." Absently, Tom fiddles with the curled phone cord, twirling it about his finger. As soon as he notices he's doing it, he drops the cord as if it was hot coals, scowling to himself. Now, there would be absolutely none of this fawning bullshit. That was terribly juvenile, and a bit too feminine for Tom's tastes. He clears his throat. "Your nan asked if I'd show you around."

It's a few beats before Will responds, and Tom realizes he probably woke the older man. He bites down on his bottom lip, and leans against the kitchen counter.

"Oh yeah, hello," Will says politely. Tom's noticed, after a full day deep in conversation, that Will says practically everything politely. At least, everything he's said to Tom. "That'll be fine. When about would you like to meet?"

"Oh, well, depends on how free you are today."

"I'm free all day."

"Oh." Tom licks his lips, and realizes that, yeah, no shit, of course he's free. Will's just moved to a brand new village, er, town now, rather, and he probably doesn't have any friends. Yet. Aside from Tom. Could Tom consider himself Will's friend yet? It was probably a jump to say so. Will clears his throat on the other side of the line, and Tom cringes.

"Um, so, I don't actually, er, have a car," Tom starts, and wow, that was a smooth way to lay it down. Will must be going absolutely nuts to hang out with him now. Tom's about to apologize, ask if they can meet later in the evening, when Will pipes up.

"I could come pick you up. Same place I dropped you off last night?" Will states, then asks, courteously. Goddamn, did that tone set Tom's face ablaze. It had no right to, and he suddenly felt dirty.

"That'd- That'd work, yeah. I'll just be here all day anyways, since my bikes gone shit. Just head over whenever you feel like it, mate." Tom shrugs to no one in particular, pulling at the bottom hem of his t-shirt. It was for a band Tom wasn't really familiar with. One of Joe's mates had got it at a concert over in Wales for him one summer.

"Sounds perfect then. I'll see you in a bit then, right?" Will asks, but there's something a bit different. Tom can't really place it, but it's something...softer. Almost reassuring. He hates the way it makes the butterflies in his stomach hatch from cocoons.

"Yeah, see you then mate." Tom replies rather curtly, hanging up before Will has a chance to say anything else.

He would really have to be diligent to not bugger this all up.

 


 

While waiting for Will to show up, Tom thought it would be best to make himself busy. It proved to be a very difficult affair, because keeping busy was surprisingly fucking hard when you were anticipating something. He only fidgeted over his appearance about a million times, changing shirts left and right until he was left in a faded grey t-shirt. Below that he wore a pair of shitty old blue jeans that used to be Joe's, the one's with holes in the knees and frayed threads at the bottom. They looked a bit worse for wear, but Joe said they looked cooler that way. Tom debates whether or not to take his opinion for it, but settles.

After that he dicks around with his bike for a bit, trying to inspect the wheel. It makes Tom feel a bit useful, maybe even a bit skillful, to be messing around with the bike, but in truth he knows fuck all about fixing it. He'd have to wait for Joe to check it out, patch up the wheel (if at all) and get a second opinion.

So Tom's really left with nothing to do. He sits in the front garden for a bit, Myrtle trotting along his heels anywhere he went. He sits on the front porch too, and smokes a fag, just for the sake of waiting. Oh, that's another thing, Tom didn't even know if Will smoked. That could be something to bond over, right? If he did? Tom then grimaces. What if he's one of those people who hates smoking?

Tom doesn't know why it feels so right to hypothetically quit.

Toying around with Myrtle's collar, Tom's just about to go inside and give Will a ring when he sees that utterly beat to shit Ford pulling up in their dirt driveway. Tom grins, and waves, walking down the wooden porch steps. He had painted them white a few years ago, but they showed their age, stained a deep cream color, coated with dirt. His filthy trainers scuff against the wood, and he nearly trips, but catches himself, shooting an awkward smile Will's way.

Tom can almost swear he sees the whites of a grin inside the truck cab, but he can't be sure.

Moments later, Will's stalking up the dirt drive way, and Myrtle's found a new victim to herd. Tom apologizes quite a bit through a fit of terribly embarrassed laughter, but Will assures him it's okay.

("She almost makes me want to be a dog person.")

Tom shows Will to the loo before they leave, before fiddling with his hair. It had been shaved along the sides once, when he was fourteen, but his mother begged him to never do as such again. It was getting a bit shaggy for his tastes now, so he'd beg her to trim it after she got home from work tonight. He tells himself to ask for Will's opinion later. Tom doesn't know why he should even care what Will thinks, but he does, and it makes him feel terribly sick.

Eventually, after Myrtle's put away, and Joe's notified that they're leaving, they climb into the cab of Will's truck and head off to brave Stanton-On-Sea.

 


 

Tom learned more about Will on the drive into Stanton-On-Sea. For example, the reason he was now living with his nan down on Lucky Lane was because he dropped out of Uni, and his parents were proper sore about that.

"I don't want to be a physician," He told Tom, as he's turning around. They had missed a turn. "It's not what I want to be."

"What do you want to be?" Tom had asked politely, fiddling with the radio.

"I don't know."

Another thing about Will Tom learned is that he gets a bit touchy when the topic of relationships come up. Or girls. Tom found that out when he brought up a girl he used to date in high school, and Will pretended not to frown.

The first place Tom made Will drive to was the park. Well, it wasn't so much a park as it was a large, rectangular patch of grass with a couple of trees and benches dispersed about it. It was where Tom spent most of his time, mostly by himself since his brother worked and all his mates had gone off to University. They sat there for a while, watching a couple of hedgehogs fucking around in the grass. Tom joked that they were probably lovers having a bit of a spat, and Will only dignified him with a soft laugh as a response. They stopped by the corner shop after that (not the one where Tom's mum worked,) and Tom learned that Will did, in fact, smoke.

Aside from that, there wasn't much to show. They drove past the church St. Dwynwen, where they'd probably spend most of their Sundays. Will got a sour look on his face as Tom spoke of the congregation, about the Sunday school classes, and church events. The next upcoming Friday there would be a fundraiser to fix one of the stained glass windows, and Will promptly ignored Tom's invitation to go with him.

They stopped by Somerfield before heading back to the Blake household, saying hello to Tom's mother and picking up ice cream, Tom's treat. Will liked mint Cornettos the best. The drive back home is silent at best and awkward at worst. Tom had used all of his best banter out on Will during their little outing, and his well of jokes and stories was running dry. Will didn't seem to mind.

All in all Tom sees their... date? No, God, that's the wrong word- errand would be worlds more appropriate- Tom sees their errand as a success in building some sort of friendship. Tom just hates to brag (he didn't) but he had been told his abrasive personality can wear even the strongest people down into a friend. One of Joe's mates had told him that, and Tom still couldn't decide if it was meant to be an insult.

They finally pull into the dusty dirt driveway, and Tom's just about to get out of the cab of the truck, when he notices Will lingering. He had a sort of sour look upon his face, the kind you get when you think of something unsavoury. Tom wanted to ask, but decided as an acquaintance of two days, it was not his place. He exits the truck, and proceeds to take a lungful of kicked up dust from the drive way.

He can hear Will's bark of laughter from the other side of the cab as he exits, and Tom mentally notes to call him a wanker. He can't really get the words out though, so he just sputters a terribly dry laugh, clutching the mirror of the truck for support while he catches his breath. Will stalks over, pulling a cigarette from his pack, and lights it swiftly, standing absently next to Tom. Just what I need, Tom thinks through a snort of laughter, More pollution in my lungs.

"You alright then?" Will asks politely, as he always does. He pulls another cigarette from his pack, and hands it to Tom, another peculiar expression on his face. Tom glares at him, and snatches the dart up, shoving into his lips.

"Yeah, no help from you actually." Tom rolls his eyes, in a mixture of playful and annoyed. He stares through his lashes up at Will for a moment, and the older man stares back, before fumbling for his lighter. Tom nods. "Ta."

"Not my fault you were so eager for a mouthful of dirt, mate." Will laughs quietly, and tugs at the collar of his baby blue polo, hidden underneath a khaki colored jacket. The color looked nice on him, Tom thought. Then again, so far Tom had thought every color looked nice on Will Schofield.

"You should try it sometime. You'll see why I was so eager." Tom quips through a breath chock full of smoke, and his glare hanging upon Will softens. It was midday now, and the sun shone nicely against Will's hair. It was neatly combed, unlike yesterday, much to Tom's chagrin. He fights tooth and nail to keep himself from carding his fingers through it. That'd just end with him getting a punch to the nose and a bad reputation. He continues nursing his cigarette.

"Don't think I will." The older man says after a moment, looking away from Tom.

"Alright."

 


 

They end up eating Marmite on toast in Tom's kitchen, and he forces Will to talk about music. He's delighted to be privvy to the fact that Will also, in fact, likes The Smiths, and he immediately puts on a record when he finds out. He's not entirely a huge fan of Morrissey as a person though, which Tom can't help but agree with. He feels a tad fake for agreeing, though, because in truth he knows fuck all about the bands members.

Other samples of Will's music taste includes Pixies, The Stone Roses, and Bronski Beat. He tells Tom that last one a bit nervously, but his expression clears up when Tom admits to not knowing who the hell they are. Tom can't think of a reason for Will to look so relieved, but again, he doesn't think it's has place to ask.

Sooner or later Joe's awake, and he stalks down the stairs in his boxers, a blanket wrapped around his head and shoulders. Tom tells him that he looks a bit like a slaggy nun, and that earns him a pop on the head and one less piece of toast. He introduces himself to Will, and, well, Tom feels incredibly jealous. They're talking about some TV show Tom's not familiar with, and laughing, and it makes him feel left out. He had a terrible habit of always wanting to be the interesting one in the group, and that flaw was rearing it's fuck ugly head right about now.

Tom clears his throat, and steps up from the table, walking towards the door. He shoves a cigarette into his mouth before he's out the door, and lights it and record timing before the wind-door has a chance to fully shut behind him.

He looks at the worn paint of the stairs again, and kicks them. He just hated this. All of it. How he was feeling. There was absolutely nothing for him to do about it. It wasn't even like there was anything between them, it's not like Tom expected anything between him and Will. It was just an incredibly inconvenient crush, like the kind school girls get on pop-stars. But Will wasn't a pop-star. And Tom wasn't a school girl. He kicks the muddy white stairs again, and groans, because fuck that hurt, why's he got to be such an idiot-

"Got an extra smoke? I'm out."

Tom pivots on his heels, and there's Will, looking far too handsome for Tom to bare. Without thinking, he extends his already lit cigarette out, and Will fucking takes it, and proceeds to take a long drag before handing it back. Tom hopes Will doesn't notice how his lip quirks miserably at the side of his mouth, and he looks away, running a hand over the back of his burning neck.

"You and your brother are a talkative crowd." Will says as-a-matter-of-factly, leaning against the railing of the porch beside Tom. Tom wishes he wouldn't, because he left that stupid khaki jacket inside, and Will's arms are so fucking nice looking. Unfairly nice looking. He mentally kicks himself in the shin for even looking.

"That's Blakes for you." Tom responds a bit stiffly, looking away. He can feel Will's eyes on him, but when he looks back over, Will's staring straight ahead. He passes the cigarette back over to the older man after another quick drag.

"I don't mind," Will says quickly, "I just happened to notice is all." He holds the cigarette between his pointer and thumb, and Tom can feel his eyes on him again.

Tom doesn't really know what to say after that, so he stays silent, and they pass the cigarette back and forth for a while.

After Will's thanked him for the tour of town, and has climbed back into his truck, driving back off to Lucky Lane, Tom stands on the porch for a while, at least until Joe lets Myrtle back outside. He tries not to think about how Will's lips had hit the filter the same way Tom's did, how their fingers brushed when the passed the fag, like a couple of school children rebelling after school. It was those completely irrelevant details Tom struggled not to think about.

He hears Joe holler that he's hopping in the shower, and Tom shouts some vague acknowledgement back, sitting down at the table. Well. What to do now?

Tom tries not to notice the way his chest tightens when he notices Will's jacket still hanging over the back of the kitchen chair, forgotten.

Fuck.

Chapter Text

Tom absolutely, one-hundred percent, hated being mocked. He guesses that's why he felt so damn sore when Will had laughed at him the day previous, after he had fallen off his bike. He had received enough mockery from Joe (albeit playful,) to turn him off from the idea forever.

That's why he was utterly, completely pissed that Will had left his jacket. Not pissed at Will, lord above, no, but just goddamn pissed at that stupid jacket. Call him silly, which he was, but he swore that jacket was mocking him.

Tom groaned, banging his head against the table with all the fervor he could manage, eager to clear out his head of any stupid thoughts he could.

This was all shaping up to be a terrible thing to deal with.

 


 

After Joe emerges from the shower, dressed in that fuck ugly night-guard uniform Tom just loved to make fun of, he takes a good look at Tom's bike.

"What the fuck did you do to her, Tommy?" Joe laughs, bent over on one knee, picking at the shredded rubber remains of what was once a bike wheel. Tom trots awkwardly around in a half circle behind him, arms crossed over his chest.

"I didn't do fucking nothing to her! Bike's cursed." He throws his hands up in front of his face, glaring down at Joe. "And how do we know this fucking demon is a she?"

"I never had any problems with her." Joe states, standing up, cocking his hips to the side. There's a mixture of dismay and amusement playing on his face, and he glances over his shoulder at Tom. "I dunno, she just has that energy. My poor girl. You've gone and fucked her, Tom." Joe makes a small 'tch,' at Tom, shaking his head.

"I didn't fuck your daft fucking bike, it fucked itself! It's fucking cursed, swear on my fucking life." Tom grimaces, and steps forward, poking the wheel remnant with the toe of his trainer. He falsifies a shudder.

"Is there an echo in here? You've said 'fucking' about one-hundred times." Joe laughs, turning on his heels and heading back inside. "I'll get you a new wheel when I'm off work, right? That'll satiate you for now?" He calls over his shoulder to Tom, before calling Myrtle inside from her spot on the porch.

Tom huffs quietly to himself, and when he's sure Joe can't see him, he delivers a healthy kick to the bike.

It wasn't really the bike he was mad at, though.

 


 

Tom resorts to just pretending the jacket isn't there for the rest of the night. He pretends it isn't there when he eats far too many too many biscuits to have a reason for, or when he dicks around with his mothers radio, or even when he makes a half-assed attempt to read a book.

He's never been terribly good at pretending, or lying, really. That's why he brings the stupid fucking jacket to his room, plops it onto his desk chair, and stares at it.

Normally, Tom's room was his own private sanctuary from life. He had a small television with a Super Nintendo connected to it, perched upon a desk he had originally been bought for homework. Considering he was graduated and all, and had done fuck all to start college, it had now become an alter dedicated to his slacking, at least, that was how his mother had put it.

Here he was, in his room, his safety, his own little nook of the world-

And he had invited his enemy inside.

Well, not really, all he had done was bring Will's stupid fucking jacket that smelt good and was soft to the touch and fit the older man perfectly and was probably very comfortable if he tried it on-

Tom groans in frustration, although he doesn't know at what, and falls face first onto his bed. No, so help him God, he was not doing whatever... this was. Whatever he was feeling. Was he fawning? Swooning? Fucking crushing? Much to Tom's dismay, he comes to realize that is exactly what he's doing. Crushing on a boy. Crushing on Suzy Schofield's grandson. Crushing on Will.

Which, all and all, Tom really doesn't find fair. He had just met the man. Yesterday! Literally just met him yesterday. What if he was a weirdo? What if he did something fucked up like kill people? Tom mentally scolds himself, clutching himself around his favourite feather pillow. It had a beat to shit He-Man case on it. Tom can't even remember the last time he watched, let alone thought of He-Man. All of this reminded him just how absolutely babyish he was being about everything.

Tom pulls himself up from his bed with a dejected scoff, and pulls an old green hoodie from a pile of clothes upon his carpet. He shuffles it over his head, and soon makes work of finding his Walkman, shoving one of Joe's old The Cure tapes into the deck. It's only a few moment's before he throws himself back onto his bed, music blaring through the headphones.

"Slowly fading blue

The eastern hollows catch th e dying sun.

Night-time follows, silence and black

Mirror pool mirrors

The lonely place where I meet you,

See your head in the fading light.

And through the dark, your eyes shine bright,

And burn,

Like fire, burn like fire in Cairo

Burn like fire, burn like fire in Cairo"

 


 

Tom wakes up to a stopped tape and the sound of someone knocking on the door. His eyes go wide for a moment, and he almost wonders if he forgot some plans, but-

His eyes fall to Will's jacket on his desk chair, and for one single, solitary moment, Tom feels like he's going to throw up. He doesn't even know why. This- This situation didn't even warrant a response like that, and yet-

Tom is quick to jump to his feet, tossing his Walkman back onto the bed, and he stumbles down the stairs to the kitchen. It all goes by too quick, and he almost feels drunk in the haze. He'd much rather be drunk right now, to be frank.

He throws open the door without any hesitation, almost robotic in nature, and isn't shocked to find Will standing there. What does shock him, though, is the way the older man's fist slams into his face, and by extension, the way he goes head over arse backwards, hitting the ground with a quick thump.

"Oh, fuck-" Will starts, his eyes going wide, and Tom let's out a shocked little giggle, staring up at Will with matching, saucer shaped eyes. "Oh, fuck, I am so, so sorry, I was just knocking, I didn't mean to-"

"Fuck me, Will," Tom spits out, in a bit of a daze. Well, now he was woken up, in the very least. "You've get a mean left hook, mate." Tom brings his hand to his face, and oh, good God is that tender. He'd have a nasty bruise there tomorrow, and his mum would no doubt dote upon him like he was an infant. Fuck.

"I am so sorry Tom, I didn't even realize you had opened the door, I was completely on auto-pilot there," Will squats down next to him, and pry's Tom's hand from his cheek, gently pressing against the skin with his own hand. "Let me take a look, least I can- I can do."

Tom obliges, and lets Will give him a right check up. He did drop out of medical school, didn't he? So obviously he knew what to do about this. Tom laughs again, a little bit less manic this time.

"Gave me a proper shock, you did." Tom finally coughs up after a moment of silence, pointedly keeping his eyes off of Will. He can hear the older man sniffle in response, careful fingers running against Tom's reddened skin. It was deeply distressing to Tom that he couldn't tell if it was from the punch, or because they were so close. He decides upon the first option.

"I just, um, came by for my jacket. Left my wallet in it. Didn't even realize until I went to the pub." Will pulls away, taking his hand from Tom's face, offering it forward to help him up. Tom's momentary disappointment of losing Will's hand is overridden seconds later as he's pulled to his feet, inches away from Will. 

"It's fine, mate. I was just about to ring you about your coat, too." Tom lies. He doubts he did it very well, though, because Will just scoffs, and nods. The older man just stares at him for a moment, and Tom realizes rather suddenly that he's still holding Will's hand. He lets go.

"Well. Yeah. So can I have my jacket, then?" Will asks stiffly, and oh sweet Christ is Tom glad the house is so dim at this hour, because he's blushing like a fucking school-girl.

"Yeah, sorry mate, I put it in my room so Myrtle wouldn't mess with it," Tom turns on his heels, waving for Will to follow him upstairs, glad to be able to look somewhere else other than the other man's face. Even though Tom would love to just, like, lovingly gaze at him forever, because the son of bitch was fucking fit. Tom supposes that wouldn't really fly.

"Oh. Thanks."

The trip upstairs is rather brief. Tom guesses his mum isn't home from work yet, because Joe emerges from the bathroom upstairs, still dressed for work. Tom asks him why he didn't get the door, and Joe says something Tom didn't pay enough attention to to remember. It's short work for Tom after that, and he lets Will into his room. Shit. He really should have tidied or something, because his room is a fucking mess-

"I like your Depeche Mode shirt," Will says suddenly, glancing down at the pile of clothes besides Tom's bed. Tom follows his eyes. It's the shirt he had changed out of that very morning.

"Oh, thanks. My mate got it for me in Cardiff. I've never listened to them, though." Tom steps in place for a moment, before pivoting on his heels, and picking up Will's jacket.

"Oh! They're quite good. I have a few of their CDs at my nan's. I've never seen them in concert, though."

"You'll have to play them for me sometime, then."

"Okay."

Tom and Will chat for a little while longer about music, just like they had earlier, until they're standing at the front door again. There had been a short period of silence between them, before Will cough, and pulls on his coat with a shrug.

"I don't um, I don't really know anyone. In town besides you." Will confesses, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. "Feels weird going to the pub on my own."

Tom doesn't really realize what he had said until he's seated in the cab of Will's shitty, dingy Ford.

"I'll go with you to the pub."

Chapter Text

The pub was nice. Tom thought so, at the very least. Quite frankly, Will looked ready to bolt, sort of like a feral kitten one would find behind a dumpster. Tom might find that funny if he wasn't completely enamored with the man. They had both ordered a pint of Guinness to start out with, Tom slamming down his shiny new learner's permit down on the bar as proof of his age. Will asks about it, and Tom starts in on the harrowing tale of how he lost his old one.

"So, me and Alfie Cooke- your nan knows him, he used to help in her garden- We was down by the pond at my mum's, having a good laugh like usual," Tom pauses, taking a long sip of his beer. "And the bastard had brought loads of firecrackers over in his car."

"Sweet Christ," Says Will, half listening, half engrossed in swallowing down his beer as quick as he could. He paused his gulping every few seconds, almost as if to convince himself he was taking things slowly. Tom nearly laughs.

"Right, so he has this great idea to tape firecrackers to different things, and toss 'em over the lake. No clue why this was all in his noggin to begin with."

"It certainly sounds entertaining." States Will plainly. Tom nods, and leans an elbow against the bar, gesturing with his hands wildly as he spins whatever peculiar yarn this was. He ignores Will's partially sardonic tone, and continues on.

"So, we collect loads of old things from his car, and from my room, and..."

Tom tells the story expressively, and Will nods in acknowledgement every so often. In truth, it's not truly that exciting of a story. Alfie had taken Tom's permit, taped a couple of fire crackers to it, and tossed it over the pond right before they went off. The only reason Tom was telling it was to keep Will's focus on him. The climax of the story gains a small, distracted laugh from Will, who's been eyeing around the pub nearly nonstop.

Tom doesn't know why he feels so jealous of a room.

"Do you have any friends back home? Or at Uni?" Tom asks, taking a sip of his beer. Maybe he was being too self centered, and that's why Will was being... however he was being. Disinterested, Tom guesses. Unamused.

"Oh, erm..." Will purses his lips at the question, before following suit in chugging down the last of his drink. Tom likes the way his brow furrows. "No, I keep to myself usually. I used to have a friend, but it fell through." Will coughs politely, and sets down his pint glass, waving over the barmaid. She refills his glass, and gives him a look over. Like, couldn't be eyefucking him harder if she tried. Tom mentally screams, before returning his focus back to Will.

"That's a shame, mate! Really, I think you're stand up. Honest." Tom grips Will by the forearm before he can realize what he's doing, and Will simply stares back.

"Thanks."

They slip into a less than comfortable bout of silence, and Tom excuses himself to the loo, only then releasing Will's arm. He steps off feverishly, locking the door behind him.

When did he start sweating? When did he start caring how other people treated this man he had met yesterday? Why was Crocodile Rock blaring on the speakers so loud he couldn't hear himself think? Tom didn't have any of the fucking answers, and it was causing him to go a little bit antsy. A lot a bit antsy, rather.

Tom doesn't even use the loo, he just washes his hands a couple of time, tries to restyle his hair (he tended to preen during stress, something he had picked up from his mother,) and stalks in a half circle. He needed to quit. He needed to stop, figure out how to be normal, and get it together.

He would just be miserable if he scared Will away. Oh God, Will- Tom had just left him sitting out there on his own, hadn't he? Tom grimaces to himself, and lights a cigarette, trying his best to smile as he exits the restroom.

Will's talking to the barmaid. Laughing. Those soft hands of his run through his hair, and down the back of his neck.

Tom nearly swallows his fucking cigarette.

He just barely recognizes he's glued in place, before taking a deep breath, and trotting back over to his place at the bar, beside Will. The older man looks somewhat relieved, but Tom couldn't imagine why. Unless he wanted a wing man. Oh, that simply would not fly, and Tom already resigns to turn such an offer down if it's made.

"Two shots of whiskey, Penny." Tom says dismissively to the barmaid, a miserable little smile upon his lips. Penny rolls her eyes at him, and winks at Will, which just sends heat to Tom's ears. He turns back to Will.

"Beer before liquor, have you heard that rhyme before?" Will asks quaintly, sipping from a near full beer glass. It was clear that he had swallowed down at least one more since Tom's little disappearance, if the flush on his face was evidence of anything. Or maybe it was from chatting up that stupid blond barmaid. Tom almost laughs mirthless at such a thought, but keeps his face straight. As straight as he could manage. Fuck.

"I have, and I don't believe any of that horse shit, actually." Tom chugs down his beer, maintaining what must have been frightening eye contact with Will, who stares at him in silence. After a long moment, he slams the glass down on the counter, and grins. "So did you get her number then?"

"Who's number?"

"Penny's?"

"Who?" Will asks again, and Tom huffs quietly in frustration, nodding over to Penny, who's carrying the cheapest bottle of whiskey the bar has.

"Penny, barmaid you was chatting up. Saw you two laughing." Tom taps his cigarette against the bar ash tray, and shrugs, doing his best to look uninterested. His best was not very good. "Thought you might've got her number."

"Oh." Will says plainly, looking incredibly fucking lost. Just in time, too, because Penny's slapped down a bottle of liquor and two shot glasses.

"You need me to leave the bottle, or do you two gents have self control?" She asks, glancing between the two of them.

Tom tells her to leave the bottle.

 


 

"I didn't get her number, Tom."  Will tells Tom from the porch of the pub. The younger man has found himself gripping a tree, retching up the days contents. Oh, now this was simply wonderful, wasn't it? Making a fool out of yourself in front of the guy you liked, just after he was chatting up that fucking barmaid-

"Why not?" Tom croaks through a mouthful of God-knows-what, urging the older man closer. Will obliges, stepping off the porch and gingerly over to Tom.

"Wasn't interested," He states simply, sheepishly patting Tom on the back. "Um, are you gonna be alright?"

"Yes," Tom groans, wiping his mouth with his sleeves. He'd have to do the washing in the morning, then. Oh, how fantastic things were shaping up to be. "You think she's pretty though? Maybe she could be your girlfriend!"  Tom puts emphasis on girlfriend, slapping his hand against the tree to accentuate whatever drunken point he was trying to make.

"Wouldn't work out. Why do you care?" Will snorts, and continues to rub Tom's back. Tom wishes he wasn't fucking drunk, because he'd savor the fuck out of such a thing. God, he was swooning again.

"Maybe- maybe I want her number!"  Tom blurts, and he slaps the tree again, like a crazed ape man. Joe would get out of this, he recognizes, and reminds himself to swear Will to secrecy on the car ride back.

"You don't want her number. She doesn't want yours either."

"How do you know?"

"Because she told me she doesn't fancy men."

Oh. That shuts Tom up.

"Alright." He says simply, glancing back over to Will. It was a good thing the older man had sobered up, because Tom really wanted to go home now.

 


 

If he hadn't scared Will off already, he certainly would now. Will had made the mistake of popping in one of The Smiths tapes into his truck, and now Tom was wailing along to 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' at high volume.

"And if a double decker bussssssssssss, crashes into usssssssss-"  Tom croons, staring over at Will with a wild, have drunken grin upon his face. It almost make him forget earlier, with the girl, an how he thought Will was flirting with her. Thought the girl was flirting with him. He'd owe her an apology, next time.

Will occasionally glances back over at Tom with some funny, almost melancholic half smile upon his face. It makes Tom's stomach, no, makes his chest twist miserably, and he knows he can't blame the alcohol. He had already gotten that out of his system. T

They stay like that for a while. Saying nothing but the lyrics to songs. Tom tries to get Will to howl along with him, but the older man firmly declines every offer. Eventually, Tom makes him promise to sing the next time they're in the car, and he think Will only agrees to get the pestering to stop.

Before they know it, they're back at Tom's house, and the moons far above the sky. It was at least 2AM by Tom's guess, and Will checks his watch. 2:30.

"Are you going to be alright?" Will asks softly as they're stepping onto the porch. He pulls a cigarette each out for himself and Tom, and Tom happily accepts. "Do I need to wake your mother?"

"She'd probably kill you if you did, mate." Tom half laughs, looking up through his lashes expectantly at Will. Will stares back. It's like that for a long moment, a pause pregnant with a question (although Tom has no idea what,) until Will snaps out of it. He snatches his lighter from his his pocket, and lights them both up. All the while, smiling apologetically in such a way that makes Tom feel like he's choking on air. Or tobacco. Probably both.

"I'll be okay," Tom finally says, nodding. "Sorry I threw up in the parking lot of the pub. And screamed in your car. You're probably itching to get rid of me now."

"I'm not," Will starts, leaning against the railing of the porch. The moonlight just barely ignites his precise features, and Tom takes a mental snapshot. "I just think you're a silly bastard. From what I've seen of you, atleast."

"You ain't the first to say that, mate."

"I don't mean it in a bad way."

"Alright."

 


 

After finishing their cigarettes, and making plans for the next week (going down to the beach,) they say their goodbyes, and Tom watches Will drive off towards Lucky Lane, no doubt to crawl into bed and go to sleep. It was late, it was so damn late.

Tom does his very best to keep quiet as he comes inside, even taking off his shoes like Joe had taught him to. They could both be rather sneaky when it came down to the nitty-gritty, but Joe was a real pro. Tom supposes that just comes with age.

When playing James Bond for what feels like forever finally comes to a close, Tom's in his room, sprawled out on his bed on his back. He's still a bit too drunk to really think cognitively, to really analyze anything, but there is one realization that comes to him as he's idly shoving off his jeans.

I treated that barmaid so rudely. I need to apologize. Will was so nice to her, even if he wasn't flirting. She wasn't flirting, actually. She's doesn't fancy men. Will was okay with that. If Will Schofield didn't hate the girl at the pub, he might not hate me.

Oh, it's terribly sobering for him to even dare to think such a thing. He sits up frantically, and scrambles for a pen and notepad from his bedside table. He jots down something at lightening speed, before returning it to the bedside table.

He's already promptly passed out before he knows it, jeans still hanging about his ankles. But he's written down all he'll need to remember, to tell himself. It'll be okay.

The notepad reads as followed:

Will Schofield is okay.

Chapter Text

Tom remembers the first hangover he ever got.

It was the evening of Joe's nineteenth birthday, and the older Blake had invited his best mate, Ellis Leslie over. Ellis was just two years older than Joe, and they had met in high school, much to Mrs. Blake's distaste. He was always the reason Joe got in trouble, and he was also the reason he started smoking. It was almost comical, Tom thought, how much their mother hated him.

"I simply find him misanthropic, dear." Tom remembers her saying over breakfast that morning, as she fixed him a stack of pancakes smothered in lingonberry jam. It was Joe's favourite, and he had already eaten two stacks before Tom sat down at the table.

"He's only misanthropic if you don't know him, mum," Joe had said through a mouthful of pancake, shrugging. Tom nodded along to keep in Joe's good graces.

But Ellis Leslie really was misanthropic. There was a clear level of arrogance that cut through him, a level of jadedness hardly anyone Tom knew had. He had been expelled from school about a million times, and all the underclassmen told stories of him. He was the one who spiked school dance punch, the one who got caught smoking in the school bathrooms, the one who got caught doing various substances under the bleachers.

He was handsome in such a melancholic way, with sad eyes, black, messy locks, and what Tom hesitated to call facial hair. Ellis also dressed bizarrely. That was another thing Mrs. Blake had qualms with, was the man's peculiar fashion tastes. He dressed a bit like a goth who had been locked in a thrift shop, wearing terribly large coats over ratty band shirts and pom-pomless bobble hats.

("He dresses like a goddamn raggamuffin, poor lad.")

At the time, Tom wanted to be just like him. He wanted to have such a rebellious, care free attitude, to exhibit disregard for authority. Any time Joe offered for Tom to follow along with them, for whatever reason, he always accepted. Some small, little, private part of his soul hoped that some of the older man's perceived greatness could rub off on him.

Tom's obsession could be summarized another way, too: Ellis Leslie was the first boy he ever had a crush on. It had dissipated by time Tom turned sixteen, but the fascination still remained. Idolization, not so much.

The night of Joe's nineteenth birthday was spent at Ellis's ruddy flat, walls lined with posters and floors littered with rubbish. It was miserably, but to a sheltered, fifteen year old Tom, it was the coolest place on earth. Especially considering what Ellis had planned for the night. Joe and Ellis had explained on the ride over, that they were to drink until they dropped.

"Right then, my good chaps. I hope you are all readily prepared to go absolutely mental tonight." Ellis had begun, a ring covered hand pointing to each member of the group. It consisted of himself, Joe, Tom, and Art Kilgour, a boy who was three grades above Tom's. He was a relaxed sort of boy with ginger hair, with droopy eyes and a pleasant disposition.

"You think I wouldn't be if I came over here?" Joe said first, a mile wide grin spread across his face as he pulled canned beer from the fridge, tossing one to each of them. Art simply appreciatively nodded, Ellis full on cheered, and Tom struggled to catch the can soaring towards him. He managed, and licked his lips.

"I'm prepared, Ellis." Tom had piped up, immediately cracking the beer open, and attempting to take a sip. Firstly, it sprayed him in the face, and all the other boys fell into a bout of squawking laughter. Secondly, from what alcohol found itself inside his mouth, Tom could tell it tasted absolutely terrible. It was miserable cheap stuff that barely tasted like anything, but somehow, at the same, tasted absolutely dreadful. He gagged.

That moment had set a mirthful tone for the rest of the night, and they drank and drank until they all fell ill, blasting Ellis's Frankie Goes To Hollywood CD collection the entire time. It had been Tom's first real, one-hundred percent unsupervised chance to roll with the big boys, a chance to experience the way childhood and adulthood clashed when one finally found themselves, a chance to experience true adolescence.

He didn't think that highly of such a thing the next morning. Tom woke up with the worst headache he had ever experienced at that point, in a pile on his own vomit, face down on Ellis's bathroom floor. All he done was groan, and finally, after struggling to find his barrings, trudge out into the smoke filled living room. Art had sat lazily on the couch with a vase in his lap, or at least, what Tom thought was a vase. Joe later explained on the car ride home what it actually was, and all Tom could do was groan.

Ellis and Joe faces weren't seen until around an hour later, emerging from Ellis's bedroom looking incredibly worn. They all sat in silence on the floor playing video games until Joe had the wonderful idea to vomit again, and it was all downhill from there. The Blakes bid Ellis and Art goodbye, and when they got home, they told their mother they had gotten food poisoning. Tom spent the whole day in bed, occasionally getting up to have a cup of tea or eat something, but other than that, he was absolutely too knackered to move.

That night was the reason Tom never drank vodka, or beer that was sold individually under 1.39£.

As miserable as that morning was though, if Tom really thought about it, he would have much preferred to relive it a thousand times over than deal with the hangover and embarrassment he woke up with in the present day.

 


 

At first, Tom doesn't think anything's out of the ordinary. When he wakes up, the sun is shining through his baby blue curtains, casting across the far edges of his bed. It's peaceful, for a long moment. The day before is momentarily lost in the back of Tom's mind, and he rolls over.

It's fine until he remembers.

Well, he doesn't really remember everything. It's a vague slideshow playing through his head. Will, the girl at the bar, acting like an ass, throwing up-

Oh.

"Oh shit," Tom murmurs, scrambling to his bedside. The note jogs everything back into his memory.

What a fucking game changer that was, really. If Will, like Tom had assumed last night in the midst of his drunken stupor, accepted homosexuals-

They could remain friends. That all did depend though. Tom would hate for Will to assume he liked him (even if it was true,) and avoid him for it. Hell, or even worse, tell his mum or brother. It would be absolute chaos to deal with. It's not like he thought his mum or Joe would have terrible reactions either, it's just... he wasn't ready for them too know yet. That was all.

Tom climbs from his bed, nearly cracking his face against the floor, because his jeans are still around his ankles. After a string of curses, he sheds them hastily, bounding down the hallway in his boxers to the shower. It was going to be a long day, and he needed to be at his best. He had a mental list of tasks too, and he mulls them over in the shower. The tasks were as follows:

1. Apologize to that poor barmaid (Posey? Poppy?)

2. Apologize to Will

3. Fix his bike

4. Buy Myrtle more dog treats

5. Tell Will how he feels

No, scratch that last one, Tom grimaces to himself, drying his hair off shoddily with a towel. He glares up to the mirror, licking his lips, and catches his own eye.

Far too soon for that.

 


 

Joe was still awake, and wearing his night guard uniform when Tom comes tumbling down the stairs. He's leaning against the kitchen counter, a box of raspberry jaffa cakes stuck under one arm, a hand digging into it.

"You in a hurry then? Mum said you came home drunk last night." Joe starts, shoving the cakes into his mouth. There were crumbs tumbling all down his front, and Tom almost calls him a slob, but hesitates.

"Why are you up so late? You'd normally be in bed right now." Tom asks, shoving his brother aside before pulling cereal from the cabinet. It was the chocolate kind, the same he ate yesterday. The same he ate before calling up Will. Before they hung out. Before Tom acted like an ass. The rush of embarrassment comes sinking back, and he can feel his face flush. He shoves the cereal back, instead grabbing a small tin of biscuits.

"Didn't get home until late, just before mum had to leave," Joe shoves another jaffa cake into his mouth, and continues on. "Stopped to get you that bike wheel. I knew you'd be up my arse about it if I didn't."

Tom swivels on his heels, an slams the biscuit tin down on the counter with far more force than he meant, cringing at the sound it makes. Joe jumps, before giving Tom a silent glare.

"Sorry, but thanks. I need my bike today anyways, I have things to do."

"You never have things to do."

"Well I do today!" Tom nearly shouts, throwing his hands up into the air. Joe rolls his eyes.

"Alright, alright, keep you knickers on," The older Blake sets down the box, and crosses his arms over his chest. "I can have the bike wheel replaces about four o'clock, after I've slept. That sound okay?"

Blake mentally screams.

"No, I told you, I have things to do, right now. Not later or tomorrow, alright? I need my bike! It's all I got to drive." Tom loses steam at the end of his miniature tantrum, the reality of how he was acting finally setting in. Babyish, horribly, horribly babyish.

Joe just stares at him, a funny little quirk at the corner of his lip.

"What's this all about then?" He asks carefully, pulling his arms tighter across his chest. Tom hesitates to answer, but as soon as he opens his mouth, Joe interjects. "Did you do something stupid? Christ, Tommy-"

Joe leans forward a bit, glancing away as he licks his lips. It was something of a nervous all three members of the Blake household shared. Tom had been made fun of for it through a good chunk of primary school, even. It was one of the tells. Tom groans.

"Joe, I-"

"Did you- Do you need help with whatever it is? Are you alright?" His voice has softened noticeably,  much to Tom's horror, and he reaches out a hand to place on the younger man's shoulder.

"Did someone hurt you? Should I call mum?"

"Oh, fuck me," Tom whispers to himself, a shocked little laugh erupting from him. "No, fuck, Joe, I just acted like a real prick last night and-"

"Tell me you didn't get that Schofield kid in trouble?" Joe eases up, and frowns heavily. Tom groans again.

"He's not a kid, he's your age. There was a girl at the pub last night-" Tom fails to explain further, Joe interjecting uselessly.

"So you fought over a girl?"

"No! Well- sort of, but it's more complicated than that." Tom shoves his brother's hand off his shoulder, feeling every movement Joe's eyes make on him. He looks away.

"There was a girl at the pub, the barmaid, and I acted a bit like an ass because I thought Will fancied her." Tom finally manages to spit out, wringing his hands in front of himself. "I thought I owed them both an apology."

"Penny? It wouldn't matter if Will fancied her, he doesn't have a chance."

"I know, she-"

"You don't either, if that's why you acted like an ass, she's-"

Tom covers his face with his hands, and laughs incredulously. It felt like this goddamn conversation was walking in circles, consuming itself endlessly like a frustrating ouroboros.

"She's gay! I know! So am-" Tom stops, not in the mood to have a freudian slip. That kind of slip would send him barreling down a mine-shaft he wasn't prepared for right now.

Joe simply looks on, puzzled. He uncrosses his arms, before recrossing them, and sighing. Something shifts on his expression, then, and whatever it is, it's well guarded. Tom can't identify the emotion.

"So why were you an ass?" He asks simply, staring the younger Blake down.

"Cause I thought she and Will was flirting." Tom confesses quietly, avoiding Joe's eye. He just wanted to get out of here, fix things, and hang out with Will again. Maybe pass a fag back in forth like the had the afternoon before. Maybe even kiss a little bit. Now Tom would absolutely love that, but there was no way in hell it was ever coming to fruition.

"Why's that matter that you thought they were flirting?" Joe asks carefully, a funny little look in his eye..

"It doesn't matter, I really should just go-" Tom swivels on his heels, aiming to flee. He could always just walk to town, that was fine- Or, wait, Alfie had left his Rockhopper in their shed while he went to Glasgow with his girlfriend, he could always borrow that.

"Tom."

"Honestly, Joe, I have it all handled, so if you'd just piss off-"

"Tommy." Joe says sternly, gripping Tom by the arm. The younger Blake yelps, and tries to pull away, but it's no use.

"You're a nosy cunt, you know that?" Tom borderline snarls, thrashing in his brother's hold.

"Yes," Joe nods. "Now what aren't you telling me?"

Tom goes still and silent. There was quite a bit he wasn't telling Joe. He wasn't telling him about how he froze when he saw Will talking to Penny. How he felt searing, burning jealousy against the back of his neck, and the miserable attempt to drown it out with alcohol.He wasn't telling his brother, one of his closest mates on earth one of the most important facts about Tom Blake.

Tom gulps lightly, before looking back up to his older brother. Joe's eyes are soft but insistent, well meaning but stern. He wouldn't take such a confession badly, would he? Tom decides to gamble with such a thing. He coughs quaintly, and looks away from Joe, a plain statement falling from his mouth.

"I'm gay."

Chapter Text

William Schofield had almost told Tom Blake he was gay, earlier that evening. Well, it was earlier that morning, Will guesses, because it's now 4:00AM, and Will is feeling terribly, terribly sick. It wasn't from the alcohol, he had held off after his several beers, sobering up with the intention to drive Tom home.

It was because he almost told Tom his secret. It was such a stupid, reckless thing to even think about, telling something like that. That's how boys end up beaten up, thrown out, or worse. Schofield knew all about worse, and he didn't want it to happen to him.

Tom Blake was, with no doubt in Will's mind, straight. It was a goddamn shame, Will thought, but so is life. Women couldn't resist a man like Tom. He had humor, a kind streak (he didn't have to help Will move all those boxes, that first day,) and he was absolutely fucking bloody gorgeous on top of all that. Shame, fucking shame.

Earlier, it had been so apparent how gorgeous the younger boy was. Blue eyes illuminated by the moonlight, eyelashes looking expectantly up at Will, it was like something from a dream. Or a nightmare, really, because Will almost told him. He almost did, before remembering why they were outside. He lit their cigarettes swiftly, and tries to reassure Tom with a smile. He's unsure if it works.

After planning to go to the beach next week (Tom half drunkenly insists they look for sea glass, which Will promises him they shall,) Will finally heads home. The drive home is far too silent for Will's liking, and he wishes Tom was here to rewind the The Smiths tape. No matter, though, because he simply flicks on the radio.

 

"Oh, life is bigger


It's bigger


Than you and you are not me


The lengths that I will go to


The distance in your eyes


Oh no, I've said too much


I set it up,"

The drive home isn't eventful in the least. Will's thankful that his grandmother had already gone to bed, because he would hate to explain why he had been out so late. He went to the pub with the boy he met yesterday, who got jealous that Will was receiving attention from the barmaid. The conversation had been so misconstrued by Tom, he didn't even know where to start when thinking about it.

For one, as pretty as the Penny was, Will would never, ever consider dating her. It was no fault of her own, rather, Will was about as straight as a fucking spring .

Secondly, their conversation had clued Will into something: She was too.

"Are you two on a date, then?" She had asked matter-of-factly, drying out a pint glass. Will almost spat out his beer.

"Wh- What give you that impression?" With returned quickly, setting down his Guinness with a frenzied little movement. He fidgeted with his hands anxiously.

"You just seemed nervous, love. He's very cute. Looks at you sweetly." Penny put away the glass she had been drying, before she had turned around to place her arms on the bar surface. "First date?"

"Oh, no, ma'am, you've got this confused-" Will started, looking away with a gulp. Oh God, if she made such a correct assumption, this could be bad news for Will. The last thing he needed was a reputation as gay, especially in a new town, with a fresh start.

"Sorry, are you not?" She asked dumbly, before grinning. "No, love, I can tell. I'm on your side, if you know what I mean." She winked again, before picking up another glass to dry. Will laughed incredulously, panic rising in his hushed voice. Wonderful, just what he needed right now. To be scolded by someone of his own community for being hesitant to come out to a stranger. Will sighed, and ran a hand down his face. He did suppose she had good intentions.

"We- we aren't on a date, we're just friends, honest to God. He's very nice, but I just met him yesterday." Will picked his glass back up, and swallowed it down quickly. God damn it. God fucking damn it.

"So you'd date him then? If you hadn't met him yesterday?" Penny asked, but before Will had the chance to interject, she continued. "I started dating my girlfriend two days after we met. We've been together for a year now."

"Well, did you know that she was like you, when you first met?" Will retorted. Penny shrugged.

"Not really. When she kissed me I figured though." Will shook his head as she spoke, looking over to the bathroom door.

"Don't- Don't say anything. About me being like you. He doesn't- I haven't told him."

"Really?" Penny cocked her head to the side, a genuine look of surprise dawning on her sharp features. "He comes off stronger than you do."

"Wonderful to know I come off as strong." Will laughed before staring at his reflection in his empty pint glass. He hadn't realized how pink he had gone.

"Honest, you should tell him. What's he called?" Penny refilled his glass, and Will nodded in thanks.

"Ta. He's called Tom. Tom Blake." Penny nodded in response, before her face lit up.

"Joe's brother?"

"Yeah, that's the one."

"Oh dear, I'm good friends with that one! And he's rather accepting, if you know what I mean." Penny made a funny little facial expression, then, and Will laughs nervously.

"I'm sure Joe is, alright? I'm just trying not to lose any friends I make here, I just moved." Will took another long sip of beer. He then realized he never introduced himself, and set down his drink. "I'm Susan Schofield's grandson, Will."

"I'm Penelope." She grinned, and they shook hands then. It felt a little less worrisome then, Will supposed. He had some sort of ally on his side, in this new town. Will pulled away after a moment.

"You should tell him, love." Penny finally says after a long moment, topping off Will's glass as she does so.

"I will, sometime, fine. That or he'll figure it out on his own eventually, just leave me be about it."

"Alright, keep your knickers on. If he's Joe's brother he can't be too uptight, alright?"

"I'm still not telling him I'm gay." Will shrugged then, before adding something else. "Just... Thank you for talking about it. Or not really, you nearly made me have an aneurysm."

"Oh love, I've given lots of people aneurysms."

Will laughed at then, and shortly afterwards Tom rejoined them, but he had such a... strange tone to him.

That's why he had almost told Tom at his house. Brought up how Penny was a lesbian. It was only a matter of time until Tom found out, and at best awkwardly kept a distance. He didn't even want to think about the worst. Will felt like a fucking time bomb.

He relives his conversation with Penny, he relives touching the warmth of Tom's back in the parking lot, relives how Tom wailed along to The Smiths on the car ride home. He relives the day before the night, too, spent in the town his grandmother had settled in. In the town he hasn't visited since he was in primary school. Will relives it in his mind, laying on his bed in his grandmother's spare bedroom, a flask of whiskey in hand.

It wouldn't do him any good to get attached to Tom. Sure, friendship would be wonderful. Tom had wonderful music, a terribly infectious laugh, and the best knack for story telling. But Will knew he wasn't thinking about friendship. He liked this boy, so very, very much. A fucking miserable, heart stopping amount. It had only been what, nearly two days? And he already had such an intense fascination.

Will takes a long, deliberately heavy gulp from his flask, before closing it and setting it upon his bedside table. He scolds himself mentally. His behavior had lost him his parents once before, he couldn't let that happen here. His grandmother was a terribly pleasant woman, but would she act as such if she knew? If she knew Will was gay?

The thought causes Will to scowl, and he immediately plucks the flask back up, valiantly swallowing down the remaining contents. Good. Now he could sleep.

William Schofield had almost told Tom Blake that he was gay.

 


 

"You really should see a doctor, love. It's unhealthy."

Will nods silently, sipping a cup of Lady Grey tea in his grandmother's kitchen. He had only slept something resembling three hours, but it was no matter now. Drowsily, he dunks a Tim-Tam into his tea, shoving it into his mouth immediately afterwards.

"I don't need to see a doctor, Nan. It was one sleepless night." Will finally adds, eating another Tim-Tam.

Ms. Schofield simply tuts as her grandson speaks, setting down bowls of steel cut oats on the table.

"Eat something besides biscuits, please. You're just like how your father was."

Will simply sighs, and pulls the bowl of oatmeal towards himself. He does suppose some carbs would do him some good, especially with how incredibly hung over he was.

"Yes, Nan."

 


 

After a headache filled breakfast, Will excuses himself out of the house by proclaiming he has some errands to run. His grandmother simply laughs him off, and asks him to pick up eggs from Lorelei Cooke. Will tries to explain that he doesn't know anyone in town, as familiar as the name Cooke did sound, but she shoots back that he'd have to figure it out. She wanted to make quiche for lunch after church Sunday.

Will simply goes out, and resolves to simply pick up eggs from Somerfield.

Mostly, Will just spends the day in town doing nothing. He goes to the park and finds absolutely no hedgehogs having a spat. He wonders idly if Tom would have some sort of funny quip about the lack of the hedgehogs.  He wonders much more harshly why he should care so much.

He's managed to waste enough time, he thinks, and he starts driving to Somerfield, but he hesitates to get out of his truck once he's reached the car park. Tom's mum worked there, didn't she? Yes, she did. They had said hello to her when they bought Cornettos there yesterday.

"Strawberry one's are my favourite," Tom had said. "They just have something special about 'em."

Oh goddamnit. Will thinks, massaging his temples. Was this going to be how it was, now? Constantly connecting dots to a boy he barely knew? Wait, connecting dots. The name, Cooke, Will knew he had heard it somewhere. At the bar last night, that was it.

Tom was the one who had mentioned someone named Cooke.

Will groans, and slams his head against the top of the steering wheel a few times, before pulling back with a sigh. Would it be too peculiar to ask Tom to tell him where to get the eggs? Would Tom suspect him for such a request? Would this absolutely be an excuse to see Tom for the third day in a row? Will didn't know the answers to the first two questions, but he did know the answer for the last one: Yes, absolutely.

Tom didn't have a job, as far as Will knew. Will didn't either, at least for the time being. He's get one soon, he has already decided. But, since neither of them have jobs, their schedules are wide open. Will wouldn't be interrupting by asking for help, would he?

Will chews his lip, and lights himself a cigarette.

He was going to ask Tom for help then. To go get eggs. Ridiculous. Utterly fucking ridiculous.

He wastes no time in driving to the Blake household.

Chapter Text

Tom doesn't realize quite how tense he's gone until Joe's gentle hand falls to his shoulder. Tom ever so slowly glances back up to his brother, a tight grimace pulled against his face. This was it then. The first person he's ever come out to's reaction. Tom wasn't really one to dwell

Joe's got this funny little look on his face, like someone just told him the most unbelievable news and also a really funny joke, all rolled into one. There's a bit of disappointment in there too, and Tom prepares for the worst.

"You cannot tell mum, please Joe, and you can't tell Will or Alfie or-" Tom begins to babble, hands reaching up to grip the sides of Joe's sleeves. Joe sort of comes back to earth at that moment, and clears his throat.

"Tom, I- Tommy, you're fine, I won't tell her, it's just-" A sort of unexpected laugh erupts from him then, and Tom cocks his head to the side. "Sorry, listen, I owe Ellis ten quid now-"

"What?" Tom asks simply, now completely lost in what the Hell's going on here. That only seems to make Joe laugh harder, choked cackles interspersed with breathless apologies.

"I'm- I'm so sorry for laughing, Tom, I'm so glad you told me, just-" Joe starts, but he threatens to burst into fits of laughter again. The younger Blake remains blank, blank and clueless. Joe finally manages to collect himself, exhaling heavily, and pulls Tom into a loose hug.

"Right, I'm very proud of you. For telling me, I mean." Joe starts again, a small smile still stuck to his lips. Tom can finally breath again, and he practically goes slack in his brothers arms.

"Thank you," Tom chokes. He hadn't even registered that he was crying until now. "Sorry for getting snot on your uniform."

"It's alright, don't mind in the least. I love you. Promise I do still." Joe nods, resting the edge of his chin on Tom's forehead.

"Love you too." Tom sniffles weekly, pulling at the sleeve oh his jumper to wipe his face. "Why do you owe Ellis ten quid?"

Joe laughs at that again, and pulls back from Tom, patting him on the arm. He turns for a moment, before handing Tom a napkin.

"Clean yourself up a bit, then I'll tell you. You'll have a laugh, it'll lift your somber mood." Joe nods to Tom, before return to disgracing his box of raspberry jaffa cakes.

"Ta." Tom wipes his nose, trying to collect himself. So, things had definitely gone a bit differently than Tom had really planned for. Certainly better than planned for, yes. Tom doesn't know exactly what he had expected, but it wasn't Joe being so nonchalantly supportive. He sniffles again, and turns back to his brother. "So why do you own Ellis ten quid?"

"Right, so, you remember how back in sixth form you followed me and Ellis around like a puppy dog?" Joe starts, a mouth full of jaffa cake. He puts the box back into the cabinet, before filling up the kettle, and placing it on the stove. Tom really could go for a cup of tea right now.

"Yeah, I guess." Tom shrugs, leaning against the kitchen counter. He crosses his arms over his chest.

"Well," Joe retrieves two mugs from the kitchen cabinet, as well as a box of lavender tea. "Ellis got it in his head that there had to be a reason you liked following along after us, aside from the fact you're an obnoxious little bugger."

"I'm not obnoxious."

"Tommy, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are, in fact, a Blake." Joe returns to his spot beside Tom, but not before running a hand through his brother's hair. Tom snorts, and playfully pushes his brother away. "You're obnoxious by nature."

"You're obnoxious by nature, you twat!" Tom laughs, shoving Joe's hand off his head. It was deeply relieving to see nothing had changed between them, even though Tom didn't even realize he was worried it would. Joe simply chuckles along.

"As I was saying, though, Ellis was absolutely convinced there was some reason you always tagged along, right? So one day, we're down at the beach with Art and a couple of girls, and Ellis pulls me aside. He goes, 'Joey, mate, I think I've figured out why Tom's always on our heels,'" Joe waves his hands wildly, putting on a completely and utterly ridiculous voice for Ellis. Tom laughs.

"So I say, 'Alright Ellis, lay this brilliant idea on me,' and he pulls me close, by the shoulders, and says, 'Call me mental, Joey, but I think your little brother's got a crush on me,'" Joe pauses for dramatic effect, glancing pointedly at Tom. Tom does his best to pretend he's not there.

"And obviously, I'm a bit taken a back, because, Tommy, you were dating Mary MacDonald at the time."

"I think I owe her an apology for that." Tom grimaces at the thought of his former girlfriend. Poor thing had been so eager to date him, and at the time, Tom guessed it was the only thing to do.

She broke up with him when he refused to mess around with her in the back of her car.

"And this funny bastard, he goes 'I think the both of you have a crush on me, really,' and that just sent me into fits of laughter." Joe shrugs, tossing tea bags into their mugs.

"Did you have a crush on him?" Tom teases.

"Yes."

Tom stays silent for a moment, watching Joe pluck the screeching tea kettle from the stove, and pour them both steaming cups of tea.

"Are you gay?" He asks as nonchalantly as he can manage, picking strings from the hem of his jumper. Wouldn't that be funny, if the both of them were bent? Tom almost laughs.

"No, not completely." Joe sets both of their mugs on the counter beside Tom, before pulling a jar of sugar cubes from the cabinet. Two for Tom, one for himself. "I like girls, boys are fine too, though." Joe stirs his cup, before taking a long sip.

"Shame Ellis is straight, then, you-" Tom aims to express how wonderful a couple the two would make, but he's promptly caught off by tea funneling from Joe's nose, along with a fit of choked laughter from the older man.

"YOU THINK THAT BASTARD'S STRAIGHT?" Joe borderline howls, slamming his mug down on the counter with the strength of sixteen hundred men. Tom nearly jumps out of his skin, throwing his hands up in front of himself defensively.

"I just assumed! I thought you were, didn't I?" The younger Blake yelps, swiping up his mug of tea, aiming to chug it, but he instead burns his tongue. He sits it back down with a groan, and crosses his arms. His face has gone terribly red. "You can't blame me, really, st- stop laughing, alright!"

"Sorry, it's just- Ellis is the least straight person I know. He's more bent than a paper clip," Joe finally manages to choke, grasping frantically for paper towels to wipe his face with. There's an amused little grin stuck on his face, Tom notices, and he dreads what it could possibly mean. "Honestly, how did you not catch on sooner, oh my God?"

"Catch on to what? That he's gay?" Tom asks stiltedly, blowing on his cup of tea.

"Tommy, oh my God,"  Joe runs a paper towel down his face. "Me and Ellis have been a thing since I was nineteen."

Tom is very familiar with hindsight. Looking back and putting puzzle pieces was something of a talent of his, really. He had always thought he was quite shit at understanding things in the moment, and that thought is only solidified now. Oh God, how much sense that made. All the nights Joe and Ellis had spent ditching Tom any way they could, all the nights Joe insisted on staying at Ellis's, all the filthy jokes that seemed a bit too specific.

"Oh my God." Tom says simply. He swallows down the rest of his tea, finding that it burns his throat less than blood burns his face.

"Honest, thought you'd have figured it out sooner," Joe snorts, tossing his tea soaked paper towel into the rubbish bin. "We're getting off topic, though."

"I suppose."

"I suppose too. Anyhow..."

Joe goes on to explain how Ellis had bet money on whether or not Tom was gay, mainly on the basis that it'd come out before the younger Blake left the nest. Tom's caught somewhere between amused and absolutely horrified at how Ellis knew. Joe finds the whole thing incredibly funny, and expresses as such at least several times, mostly in fits of boisterous laughter.Eventually though, Tom finds himself less embarrassed, and much more secure in the fact that he's not the only one around like this. It's incredibly relieving. Incredibly so.

Eventually, much to Tom's chagrin, the conversation digresses back into the topic of what exactly had happened at the pub last night.

"So," Joe starts, clasping his hands. "Why were you such an ass at the pub last night?"

"God, can't you give that up?" Tom groans heavily. "If you don't interrupt me, maybe I'll tell you."

"Fine then, I'll shut it then." Joe mimes zipping his lips shut, but only after rolling his eyes playfully. Tom scoffs.

"Well, uh," Tom licks his lips,"I thought the girl who works the bar was flirting with Will, and I got a bit jealous. Simple as that."

Joe looks as if he's trying desperately not to laugh, and Tom hates it. Well, he doesn't so much hate it as he does dislike it.

"Go on then." Joe says through a grin, crossing his arms over his chest.

"There's nothing more. Shut up." Tom huffs.

"You fancy him? Will?"

"No." Tom lies. His ears are burning hotter than a yule log, and so is his entire face.

"Oh God, you do! Why else would you be jealous?" Joe covers his mouth with his hand. "You are too entertaining, honest, Tommy."

"I'm not entertaining!" Tom shouts, pulling the collar of his jumper over his mouth. "And I'm not telling you anymore, you absolute cunt. I just need to go apologize for being an ass already, you've kept me so long.

Tom stares up at Joe, who looks like he's on the verge of giggle induced tears.

"Plus, you're up past your bedtime. Go on." Tom drops his collar, and attempts to shoo Joe away with a gesture of his hand.

"Fine, fine. Get along then, I won't bother you any longer," Joe shrugs, turning on his heels. "I'm pretty sure Alfie Cooke's bike is in our shed, by the way. I need my beauty rest, but I promise I'll fix your bike later."

"Fuck off, you." Tom half hisses, half laughs. He shoves Joe away, who chuckles, before trotting along upstairs.

"Good luck!" The older Blake calls down from the second floor, "Don't bugger it up worse."

"Fuck you!" Tom shouts again, but it's good natured.

He spends the next few minutes working out a plan. Firstly, steal Alfie's bike. Well, not so much steal as in borrow. Secondly, apologize to Penny first. That would be easiest. Maybe he could even ask her some advice, see what Will said last night. That would be okay, wouldn't it? If they were similar? He hopes so. Thirdly, apologize to Will for acting like an ass. That was the only part that Tom really was nervous about.

What do you say to someone you acted snippy towards whilst drunk out of your mind? Tom sure as hell doesn't know, but he still remains determined.

Tom changes into a clean jumper (one that isn't covered in a mixture of tears and tea,) before heading out the door, and onto the porch.

He bumps straight into Will.

Chapter Text

"Oh, fuck," Tom says, terribly softly at that, as he falls backward onto his ass. He glances up at Will, who's standing there with a sort of shocked expression on his face. After a moment, though, the older man's mind must catch up with him, because he's pulling Tom to his feet.

Tom should not find it as endearing as he did.

"Christ, I- I am sorry," Will sputters, grasping both of Tom's with his own. The younger man makes a point of dragging his eyes over every detail of those hands- how soft they were, warm, and gentle. Tom has to physically hold back a groan of disappointment when Will pulls away.

"I'm starting to think you have a grudge against me, the way you keep knocking me down." Tom laughs a bit breathlessly, allowing himself a small indulgence by gripping Will's arm. He could always say he was steadying himself, if Will asked.

"No, I swear it isn't like that," Will begins, clearly taken back at Tom's comment. Tom waves him off though, patting him on the shoulder, desperately trying to quell whatever panic he had instilled in the older man.

"I'm joking, mate, swear you're fine." Tom insists. Will seems to relax after such a statement, his shoulders relaxing under Tom's touch. He tries not to think too hard about it. "What's going on, then? Just can't get enough of my company or do you need something?"

Will's face goes a noticeable pink shade, and Tom resigns himself to thinking he's still flustered from bumping into one another.

"Oh, I wanted to ask if you knew Lorelei Cooke? I thought you mentioned a Cooke yesterday, at the pub." Will half mumbles, glancing down at where Tom's hand sits. Tom pulls away.

God. The pub. Bumping into Will had knocked the thoughts of the night before right out of him, at least momentarily. Tom smiles, a bit too wide, and nods.

"Yeah, I know her. You're not gonna have a chance with her, though, if that's what you're aiming for. She's Alfie's gran, the boy I told you about yesterday." Tom claps his hands in front of himself.

"Oh! Heavens no, even if she wasn't, I-" Will cuts himself off, shaking his head. "My nan wants me to pick up eggs from her, is all."

Tom nods, and they both stand in silence for a moment. Will is, from Tom's guess, trying to keep his eyes off him without seeming too impolite. Tom coughs.

"Sorry about last night. I acted like an ass. It's a terrible way to act around a new friend, and I understand if you're upset with me, I-"

"I wouldn't have come over for help if I was upset with you." Will says simply, finally glancing back in Tom's direction. The younger Blake can almost feel himself shrink under such a gaze. "You're quite alright.

"Thanks mate." Tom says somewhat stiffly, inwardly a bit shocked. He doesn't quite know what he expected.

"Really. I mean it."

"I'm thanking you for it, then."

"Alright."

"Alright."


They chat a bit more about casual things, like owning boats, buying records, and Tom's strong opinion that people don't eat enough cabbage. Will seems proper amused with that one, and Tom's glad he can get back to his normal dog and pony show of being entertaining. Being the center of attention, or more importantly, being the center of Will's attention.

Eventually Tom pulls Will inside from the porch, setting him down at the kitchen table with a tin of biscuits and a cup of tea.

"Really, I don't want to be a bother." Will had said when Tom sat down the biscuits.

Tom simply waved him off, turning on his heels to throw on a record. Parklife by Blur. Tom would go on to tell him how it was their newest one, and how he had already listened to it all the way through at least four times. Will chuckles at that, politely sipping his tea every so often.

"So where were you off to, when I knocked you over?" Will says finally, after they both calm down from a bout of laughter over a terrible joke Tom had told. It had been about ants and their inability to speak to each other, except through pheromones. It was one of Tom's favourites.

"Oh, I was gonna go run some errands, but my bikes still shit. Joe's gonna replace the wheel later when he wakes up." Tom shrugs, taking a sip from his near empty cup of tea. "Alfie's left his bike in our shed while he's off with his girlfriend, so I was gonna borrow it."

Will nods along, playing with a stray string on the collar of his jumper. "I could help you fix it, if you'd like. Give you a lift into town for errands, even, if you'd prefer."

"Do you know how to replace bike wheels?" Tom asks, eyebrow quirked. As lovely as having Will by his side in town sounded, it'd be a bit funny to tell him his plan, wouldn't it be? To apologize to the girl from the pub? Tom shrugs again, more to himself than anything.

"A bit, my sister taught me how when we were young. She's better at such things than I am, though." Will goes to take a gulp of his tea, but the cup must be empty, because he almost immediately sets it back down.

"Same's with Joe. You can take a look at it if you'd like, Joe said it's proper fucked."

"It can't be too terrible, can it?" Will laughs, standing up from the table. Tom watches as he places his emptied mug neatly in the sink, tossing his tea bag in the bin. Ever so polite, such good manners, Tom struggles to keep himself from swooning.

"I don't know, I'm very good at proper fucking things." Tom says with a grin, following along after Will.

They both laugh a bit too hard, and Will can barely look Tom in the eye. Tom pretends not to notice.


"Christ," Will starts. Tom had led him out to the garden, and they had propped the bike upside down, the handlebars digging into the ground slightly. There was heaps of mud coating them. "You really did a number on her."

"Why do you think the bike's a 'her'?" Tom asks,  a bit dismayed at the expression. "Don't say 'Oh, Tommy, she just has that energy,' 'cause I might smack you upside the head."

Will laughs, hands on his hips, and shakes his head.

"No, it's- I don't know, most people call inanimate objects 'shes' don't they?" The older man states.

"It's a bit stupid of them, isn't it?" Tom snorts. He's holding the bike wheel in his arms. The two of them had spent the better part of thirty minutes searching for it, unsure of where Joe had put it. Tom insisted on not waking his brother, partly because he needed the sleep, and partly because he wanted to be the sole recipient of Will's attention. It had been tucked under the miserable blue bike the whole time, and the two men had had a good chuckle about it.

Will shrugs. "Maybe a little."

"I think a lot, actually. It's a bike, not a bird. No need to call it a she." Tom does a funny little nod, as if he's explained his point perfectly. In his mind, he certainly had.

"Alright, alright, settle your oats," Will laughs. "Easy fix, though. I'll show you how so you can do it in the future yourself, without me or Joe helping."

"Maybe I won't learn to do it myself," Tom starts, a silly little grin on his face. "I'll just call you, and have you do it."

Will does a miserable job of pretending to fiddle with the bike's torn wheel, and Tom notes how terribly pink his face has gone. That must've been the wrong thing to say. Tom drops the wheel, and turns on his heels.

"I'll, um, I'll go fetch us some tools then." He coughs, before trotting off to the shed. Christ, how like him, to get carried away in cracking a joke and making things uncomfortable. Tom supposed that was all he disliked about Will, was that he couldn't get a good hold on reading him yet.

Tom digs around in the shed, around mounds of old magazines, and sets of yard games his mother had bought for himself and Joe when they were nippers. He hadn't touched them in years, and he idly debates setting some of them up sometime as he moves a set of garden quoit rings off a table. He finally comes across a small, red tool bag, and triumphantly returns to Will with his spoils.

"Hey, when's the last time you played-" Tom starts, half jogging across the garden. His train of thought is interrupted, though, as he watched Will remove his jumper. The button up he had underneath it rides up along with the thicker fabric, and Tom gets a great eyeful of Will's wonderfully toned torso.

Tom has to swallow very hard to get whatever's caught in his throat out.

"What's that?" Will asks, turning to face Will. Something peculiar plays in the older boy's expression, no doubt in retaliation from Tom's own. He can feel how hard his face is burning, and he desperately wishes he had an excuse. Instead, he stammers for a moment, watching Will fold his jumper and place it on the veranda railing.

"When's the last time you played quoits?" Tom finally manages, eyes dropping to the ground as he meanders closer. Of all the time to act like a mess.

"Probably not since... I don't know, probably not since I was in year seven?" Tom looks back up as Will speaks, and the older man's face has gone flush. Funny.

"I found the tools. Found our old garden set of quoits too."

"Maybe we could play sometime, then?"

"Maybe."

They both go quiet for a bit, and Tom watches Will replace the wheel. The tire tube isn't terribly wrecked, it's mostly just the outer tire. Every ounce of Tom's self control is spent trying not to stare at Will's forearms. The older boy had rolled up his sleeves before he went about replacing the wheel, and Tom couldn't help but notice how nice they look.

It's hell, to say the least.

Finally, though, it's good as new, and Tom asks if Will would like to come inside for some sandwiches. Will tries to object, but it's no use, and Tom insists.

("My mum would absolutely have my neck if I didn't, mate. It's the least I can do.")

They end up replaying the Blur record, shooting the shit over marmalade sandwiches, until Will notices the time.

"Oh, it's already one."  He says softly, glancing down at his watch. Tom finds himself frowning.

"Sorry for keeping you, if you're busy. I forgot you have to go get eggs from Mrs. Cooke." Tom apologizes rather quickly, almost immediately shooting up from his chair. He really had just derailed the entire point of Will coming over then, hadn't he? How selfish.

"It's quite alright!" Will assures him, mirroring Tom's actions and pushing himself to his feet. "Would you mind going with me? I don't know where her house is."

"I don't mind."

"Okay."


Not much time is spent at Lorelei Cooke's. Her home was a green little cottage across from the church, copious amounts of flowers painting the pots along the porch. Tom introduces Will, and they both reject invitations for tea. Other than that, the egg transaction is quick, and Will and Tom head to the sea.

Their original plan had been to go the next week, Tom recalls, but since they had found themselves in each other's company again, it only seemed right to go now.

The beach was empty, and Tom supposed that made sense since they sky was a dreary grey. The tide was far out too, so looking for shells and sea glass wouldn't be too hard. They park on the edge of the sand, taking off their shoes and rolling up their trousers. Will pulls off his jumper again, like earlier, and Tom manages to keep himself in check.

"Did you know sea glass isn't naturally from the sea?" Tom asks, meandering through the sand behind Will. The older man thinks on this for a moment, before deciding an answer.

"No, I didn't. What's it from, then?"

"Bottles, any bits of man made glass falling into the ocean, really. It's a bit like how rocks become round if they're in a brook for too long."

"Oh. Well, I think it looks very pretty."

"Me too."


Tom's jumper is all covered in sand from using it to hold the sea glass, but it doesn't bother him. Will insists on finding a better receptacle for their treasure, and after some digging through the cab of his truck, retrieves an empty McDonald's bag. Tom insists, rather aggressively at that, that Will keep all their findings. The entire time they go back and forth, Will's got this funny little grin stuck to his face.

Tom decides almost immediately that he'd do anything to see that grin again, so help him God.

The car ride home to the Blake's is spent howling obnoxiously loud along to Elton John, Tom putting all his effort into dramatic hand motions of all kinds. Th pay off, which Tom was praying for, is more amused laughter from Will, along with a couple sideways glances which Tom swears steal the breath from his lungs.

It's not long before they're back to Blake's house, windows rolled down, the ending lines to Rocketman beginning to fade out.

"And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time..."

Tom croons along gracelessly, miming a microphone with his hand and pack of cigarettes. He can just barely register Will grinning at him from the corner of his eye. Tom can feel his stomach absolutely churning with butterflies, and he breaks off into a hysteric, although perhaps suddenly nervous fit of laughter.

"Fuck-" Tom wheezes, gripping the window sill for much needed support. Will joins him in the rounds of laughter, even though whatever joke they had found themselves amused with wasn't terribly funny. After a long, noisy moment, Tom registers the sound of Will's tape stopping in it's deck.

"Jesus Christ," Tom finally groans, clutching his sides like his life depends on it. Through the flurry of merriment, Tom hadn't realized Will's hand was on his shoulder. It sinks in now, though, now that they've both gone quiet. They're both so close, the cab of Will's truck isn't very spacious, so it'd be very easy for Tom to just lean in and kiss-

And like that, Will's exited the cab, leaving Tom all on his own. He supposes he shouldn't be disappointed, he really doesn't have the right to be. It's not like they were ever going to kiss to begin with. And yet- he can't help the peculiar little inkling of sadness twist around in his chest. Whatever.

He steps out of the cab, lighting himself a cigarette, and notes that Will's done the exact same thing. They walk silently to the veranda, standing side by side over the railing.

Tom feels foolish. He feels damn foolish for acting how he did yesterday, and he feels damn foolish about how lost he's getting for Will now. Oh, fuck, yesterday- He didn't even end up apologizing to Penny, did he? Tom grimaces against his cigarette, about to bring up last night again, when Will abruptly speaks.

"Do you like me?"

"Sorry?" Tom says somewhat incredulously,and Will must have registered the unintended meaning, because his eyes go wide.

"As a friend! I mean, do you like me as a friend?"

Of course he meant as a friend. Tom grins mirthlessly. He supposes friendship is worth more than, say, a black eye. A beating. Any amount of violence earned by being honest.

"I think you're aces, really. So yes, I like you, as a friend." He states finally. Will seems to accept the answer.

"I like you too." The older responds softly.

They stay quiet for a long time after that, simply standing in the mid-day sun, smoke billowing all about them on the veranda.

Chapter Text

Will glares out the faintly steamed glass of his windowpane, half counting the falling water droplets, half wishing the rain would stop. He didn’t mind the rain, in fact, he quite liked it. It’s just he preferred sunny days if he was going to be spending time with-

"Do you prefer Talking Heads or Pixies?"

"That's not a fair question, Tom."

Tom laughs from his place on Will's bed, flipping through an extensive CD case. Will had been collecting for about five years, and the fruits of his labor were currently being admired by his new best mate. To Will's upmost pleasure (and partial chagrin,) they had spent pretty much every single day together. The only bad thing about it was the fact that Will's little inkling of a crush had grown up at a very terrible rate.

“Maybe it’s not fair, but it’s still a question. Go on and answer it then.” Tom crosses his arms, and Will can feel the expectancy in his eyes.

Will shrugs, and spins his desk chair around, so he’s not facing Tom. It continues to spin in circles, and Will fights back a laugh.

“You’ll have to be quiet,” Will says, shutting his eyes. He holds his fingers to his temples dramatically, brow furrowing. He cracks a single eye open, and he can see Tom’s star white grin whizzing past him. Christ, how unfairly fucking cute.
"I’m focusing, using all of my mental stamina.” Will stays faux-sternly, the unstoppable quirk of a smile on the corner of his lip.

“When will you have the answer then, mate? I haven’t got all day.” Tom retorts, and Will’s eyes are closed again, but he swears he can hear that brilliant, vibrant grin.

“In a moment. I’m very hard at work, you have to understand. I’m using all my brain power.”

“Of course, of course.” Tom replies, evidently on the edge of bursting into a fit of laughter. It wasn’t even like they were doing anything particularly funny. At least, Will thought so. There was just something so wonderfully humorous when it was just the two of them goofing off, tucked away from the rest of the world.

It was bittersweet though, because Will knows that Tom couldn’t ever be feeling the fondness he’s feeling right now.

“Alright, I’ve come back with an answer.” Will says finally, popping both eyes wide. “Repeat the question.”

“Which do you prefer over the other: Talking Heads,” Tom says, licking his lips. Will tries to convince himself not to notice. He didn’t need any extra help in thinking about kissing the younger boy.
"Or The Pixies?”

Will nods, and crosses his arms against his chest.

“Firstly, it’s just Pixies. There is no ‘ The ’.” He kicks his foot against the ground, and he goes spinning again, which Tom must find funny, because Will can hear a giggle when the younger boy goes out of view. “I don’t actually have an answer. I was pulling your leg.”

Will holds back from saying he was only leading Tom on to hear him laugh, to banter with him more. He would hate to give Tom the wrong impression by sounding too… appreciative. Then again, the wrong impression was exactly what Will wishes he could give. He finds it all a very convoluted train of thought.

“Oh, you’re such a cunt!” Tom laughs, throwing himself back against Will’s bed, arms splayed against the pillows. “Have you ever been told it’s rude to keep people waiting?”

“Yes.” Will replies dryly, before snorting with laughter. Tom throws a pillow at him, a rowdy cackle following the plush item through the air.

It smacks Will in the chest, and he groans. 

Tom grins at him, propped up on his elbows, and oh Christ , why does he have to be so cute? Will’s face starts to flush, and he grips the pillow tightly, standing up. He crosses the small confines of his room, eyebrow raised.

“You really want to start something like that?” Will asks, a small smile plastered against his lips. Tom glances away for a moment, and something plays in his expression that Will can’t quite pin down. The younger boy licks his lips again.

“Dunno, what’re you gonna do about it?” Tom asks, something different about his tone. He looks back up to Will, with those terribly soft cornflower eyes of his, and bites his lip. Will’s face goes terribly red in that moment, and he’s at a bit of a loss for words.

Will promptly smacks him with the pillow instead of the response he much would have preferred: Kissing the boy before him utterly senseless.

Tom laughs and laughs, grabbing the other pillow from Will’s bed in retaliation, smacking him right back. They both burst into terrible fits of giggles, the kind that make you at a loss of breath and make your sides hurt. It's a full on war then, no mercy shown from either party.

It's perfect, a moment of pure hilarity and friendship, the kind of thing that makes your heart go far too fast inside your chest. Deep down, Will knows the sensation is only heightened because of his feelings, but he understands as such. He could manage that. He just can’t figure out why Tom looks quite so disappointed under all that glee. 


“Do you like anchovies?” Tom asks, gesturing with his cigarette. Their previous conversation topic had been about whether or not chartreuse was a nice color. They couldn’t reach an agreement, and had halted the discussion, instead agreeing upon a smoke break. It’s a question Will wasn’t particularly expecting, and he blinks at the younger boy.

“I don’t think I have a very strong opinion on them, actually.” He answers, taking a slow, languid drag of smoke. “What do you think of them?”

“I find them repulsive. Joe eats them constantly, smells up the whole house.” Tom falsifies a shudder with some peculiar sense of vigor, and Will chuckles.

“I do like sardines, but those are a bit different, aren’t they?”

Tom snorts, glancing over with the most disapproving grimace Will thinks he’s ever been dealt. He gulps.

“Not really, they both stink and taste like shite. Kipper snacks fall in that category too.” The way Tom says it makes it sound like it’s an indisputable fact of life. Will shrugs.

“I like kipper snacks.”

“Oh, Will, I am so disappointed in you.” 

They both have a good giggle over that, and Tom ends up dropping his cigarette in the puddle that has unfortunately grown on Mrs. Schofield’s porch. There’s a hearty groan from the younger boy, and he looks somewhat expectantly over at Will.

“Share the last of yours?” He asks, and there’s something a bit bashful in his voice. Distinctively boyish, too. It’s unfortunately cuter than Will can handle, and he looks away, holding out his cigarette to the younger boy.

He tries very, very hard to not think about how much of an indirect kiss it is, which is such a miserably juvenile thing to think when sharing a fag with somebody, but he can’t help it.

“Why’d you bring up anchovies, then?” Will asks, trying to get back on topic, trying to distract his thoughts. He had been told something by a teacher a long time ago, and the message plays on repeat in his mind.

( “It doesn’t do well to dwell on it.” )

“Oh, well, um,” Tom flounders for a moment, and Will glances at him, noticing how flush his cheeks were. It wasn’t particularly cold, but Will supposes the rain might have something to do with it.
“I was just thinking about how like, sometimes people’s missus’ won’t kiss them after they’ve eaten them.”

Will frowns, and looks away again. So much for washing his hands of kissing. He stares down at his shoes, which are peppered in all sorts of water droplets. He pretends to be very, very interested in that.

“So like, I got to thinking, that I wouldn’t kiss someone who’s eaten them, because I think they’re gross,” Tom’s voice sounds a bit stilted, like he’s unsure where to go. Lost. “And I was just wondering if you thought they were gross too or not.”

“Oh.” Will says plainly. He glances back over to Tom, who’s looking in his direction, but the younger boy’s head immediately snaps to face in front of him. He looks uncomfortable. Oh God, Will had made this weird, hadn’t he? By looking away and asking and all that? Christ. His lip twitches uselessly as Tom passes the cigarette back, and Will mulls over something to say to defuse the situation as he takes a drag. No, diffuse the tension and curb whatever suspicions Tom no doubt had from Will’s reaction.

“Guess I’ll have to eat as many anchovies as I can to keep you from kissing me,” Will halfheartedly teases, passing the cigarette back in his friend’s direction. He can almost swear Tom’s hands tremble against his own as they brush, but then again, it could be from whatever wind chill the younger boy has seems to have caught.

“Like I’d kiss you anyways,” Tom snorts a bit curtly, evidently very concerned with a rogue string along the hem of his jacket.

The conversation dissolves into something less kiss heavy, something about Polaroid cameras and scrap-booking. Faint anxiety remains pooled in Will’s gut, and he can’t help himself from turning on auto-pilot during the conversation, retreating into his head.

He had really bollocks that up, hadn’t he? Talking about Tom kissing him? No normal person would ever turn the conversation in that direction, even as a joke. But Will wasn’t a normal person. He was bent. He was terribly bent and couldn’t stop thinking about this absolute cheeky bastard of a boy who he had laughed at the day he moved in, when said cheeky bastard crashed his bike. Lord help him.

He’s only drawn out of his thoughts by the sound of his grandmother calling them both in for tea, insisting that such terrible would only get the two boys sick.

Tom laughs in that charming way Will knows his grandmother loves and agrees, trotting inside after he’s put out his cigarette in the porch ashtray. Will didn’t disagree, but he doesn’t really care either. He’s already feeling a bit ill anyways.


Tea’s alright. Will already knew Tom was the kind of boy old ladies loved, he was startlingly polite when needs be. Him and Will’s grandmother chat politely about gardening over their steaming cups of earl grey, and Will occasionally leaves his own thoughts to add in.

Oh, how terribly preoccupied he was at the moment, terribly preoccupied with thoughts concerning himself and Thomas Blake. Will had messed up friendships by being… the way he was before. They hadn’t ended well at all, and that had been one contributing factor for his choosing to move to his grandmother’s instead of his home town. He just hated to pick at scabs, they never healed that way.

Once Tom’s had his fill of biscuits (which is quite a bit, and Will subconsciously notes to buy a few boxes of his favourite to keep here,) they return to the postered walls of Will’s room, and the younger boy languidly throws himself against Will’s bed. That had to be a good sign, right?

Will struggles to find something to talk about, any way to pick up conversation, and chooses instead to remain silent. He steps over to his dresser, and after sorting through a small pile, pops a CD into his well used CD player.

He hits the randomizer button before quietly sitting down next to Tom on the bed, making sure to keep a few inches of space between them. There’s a shift in the bed, and Tom’s propped up on his elbows, glancing down at Will.

Will stares back up at him, expression neutral. No, that’s a lie, because he’s sure the flush across his face has given away the panic he’s trying to keep inside. They look at each other for a few more seconds, before Tom lays back down.

Will heavily exhales through his nose in something resembling relief, and puts his hands behind his head, before taking a good gander at the back of his eyelids. The bed shifts again, so much so that he almost cracks an eye open, but his train of thought all but stops.

Tom’s curled closer to him - nothing too intimate, Will’s on his back and the younger man’s on his side- But Will can feel the younger man’s chest against his side, and the feeling of his curly hair brushing against the lower side of his arm. Internally he’s glad that he didn’t wear a button up today.

Will goes to open his mouth, open it to say something, ask a question he doesn’t even have prepared- But he stops. He’d hate to make whatever this was stop, to make it weird. Tom could mean it in a completely platonic manner, after all. Even though the idea of rejection is a truth Will believes in, he doesn’t dare risk the chaste physical affection. He doesn’t dare move.

They don’t say anything for a long time, and simply lay there, listening to music. Will’s unsure of when he falls asleep, but he’s sure of the utter disbelief that remains inside him.

Oh God, it's raining.

But I'm not complaining.

It's filling me up

With new life.

The stars in the sky

Bring tears to my eyes.

They're lighting my way

Tonight.

And I haven't felt so alive

In years,”

Chapter Text

“I was just thinking about how like, sometimes people’s missus’ won’t kiss them after they’ve eaten them.”

Tom can feel his face burning. It wasn’t a complete lie, no. He just left out the part where his mind had wandered into kissing Will beforehand. The older boy is staring down at his shoes, looking like he’d rather be anywhere else. Dammit, how could Tom forget? Will hated any talk of relationships. Tom notes to think on that later. Perhaps Will had come out of a terrible relationship before coming here, that would be logical. He shelves the thought for now, and continues his half baked ramble.

“So like, I got to thinking, that I wouldn’t kiss someone who’s eaten them, because I think they’re gross,” It sounds so damn silly to say out loud, Tom thinks, but he doesn't have any other real options. “And I was just wondering if you thought they were gross too or not.”

“Oh.” Will says rather plainly, and Tom can already feel the embarrassment coursing through his veins. Will was probably making the connections in his head. Christ, how fucking foolish Tom felt. He could’ve just made something up, said something to get a laugh out of Will- But he just had to be betrayed by his honesty, didn’t he? He passes Will their shared cigarette.

“Oh my God,”  Tom thinks, glancing over at him. “ I’m fucking dead.”

As soon as there’s any movement from Will, Tom’s head snaps to face straight forward. The last thing he’d want right now is to get caught staring. Christ, it was probably any second until Will confronted him, or told him to leave. Tom licks his lips, a gentle building in his hands.

“Guess I’ll have to eat as many anchovies as I can to keep you from kissing me,” Will says finally through the silence, something Tom guesses is humor in his voice. Good God, how such an off hand comment hurts though. Idly, through the sting, he registers that Will’s passing the fag back, and he takes it.

He takes a rather bitter drawl of smoke, a wry smile curling at his lips with a snort. He picks at the bottom of his jacket, and leaves the cigarette shoved in the corner of his mouth. He hates the way the smoke flows into his eyes like it was meant to be there all along.

“Like I’d kiss you anyways.”

Tom would. He knows inside that he absolutely, one hundred percent, no question asked, would kiss Will. Even if he had just eaten anchovies, sardines, kipper snack, or whatever else. He would.

Tom shuffles his thoughts about, and changes the topic. He chooses scrapbooking for no other reason than he knows tons about it, mostly because of his mother. That ends up evolving into Polaroid cameras, and why Tom likes them better than the kind you have to take to get developed.

He can tell Will isn’t listening. It only makes him babble harder, the pressure cracking him like a hot glass in cool water. It’s why he throws himself headfirst into conversation with Will’s grandmother when she offers tea, because it’s something he can focus on. He knows how to talk to old women. It’s something he’s done every Sunday at church for his entire life. It’s normal.

It’s so grounding and normal, in fact, that Tom finds himself rather reluctant to leave the table. He gives himself an excuse by eating far too many biscuits, and he’s sure any minute now his stomach will start to hurt. He hopes at least that such a thing will shoo off the butterflies.

It’s eventually clear that they should return to Will’s room, and as much as Tom would like to say he hesitates, he doesn’t.

Tom trudges after Will, and rather carelessly (or at least, his attempt to seem as such) throws himself against the bed. If Will asks why he’s laid down, he can always say he has a stomachache. It wouldn’t be a complete lie, but Tom knows he’d be fibbing if he said it was from anything other than anxiety.

Will simply crosses the room, and Tom has no clue what he could be doing, until he sees Will shuffle through several CDs. Tom quirks a brow, but doesn’t say anything. Certainly there was going to be no conflict if Will felt the need to soundtrack their company, right?

After a moment, Will comes over to the bed, and lays down on his back besides Tom. There’s a very intentional gap between them, Tom notices. He props himself up on his elbows, intending to say something to Will as he glances down-

Will’s face is bright fucking red, like, red as an apple red. Red like the night sky over the sea red. Valentine’s hearts red. It would be far funnier to Tom if he could decipher it, but Will’s stern, steady eye contact short circuits his brain.

After their peculiar bout of silence, Tom lays back down. He hears something from Will then, be it a scoff or a sigh, he doesn’t really know.

Tom really knows he’ll probably shooting himself in the foot with this. He can’t help the fact that he’s always been impulsive, always been one who goes after what he wants. It’s why he gingerly rolls onto his side, and presses up against Will. 

It’s foolish. Utterly foolish and stupid and probably a tad dangerous too- But Tom can’t help himself. He’s been abstaining from any physical contact other than shoulder touches and handshakes for so long. His patience has worn thin.

It’s a bit funny though, even though Tom can’t bring himself to laugh. Will doesn’t move away. There’s a very noticeable clack of his jaw closing, so he must have meant to say something, and yet- He remains silent. They both do, just laying there against one another, music blaring from Will’s CD player. 

Just for a day,

On a day like today,

I'll get away from this

Constant debauchery.

The wind in my hair,

Makes me so aware,

How good it is to live

Tonight.”


Waking up with a man’s arms wrapped around him is certainly a new experience for Tom. He can’t recall the last time he had been held so tight, yet so comfortably. He doesn’t even think too hard about it, sighing softly as he presses his forehead against Will’s chest-

Oh fuck. Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.

Tom fights the instinct to absolutely throw himself out of Will’s bed out of pure shock for two reasons: One, he would absolutely hate to lose the gentle grasp of Will’s arms around him, and two, he thinks he might die if Will wakes up.

So he just lays there. He lays there uncomfortably close to this boy he likes, drinking in the warmth of him, and the soft way he looks when he’s asleep. Will always has this sort of…  sour? Worried? Sour and worried look upon his face, like he had just had a sip of spoiled milk. It let up on occasion, sure, but more times than not, he looked anxious. Tom didn’t like it.

He supposes that’s why he spends so long looking before he inevitably gets up. Will looks at peace, and dare Tom think it, he looks happy. As happy as an unconscious man can look, that is.

It’s a bit of a struggle to get out of Will’s grip- he’s a very stiff sleeper, evidently, and Tom’s sure he nearly woke him up at least a handful of times. Eventually, though, after begrudgingly slipping from Will’s very warm arms, he’s left standing at the side of the bed.

What can he even think, now? Even say, if Will woke up? What the hell did he do last night? Jesus fucking Christ. Questions like those pace in endless circles through Tom’s mind, and he can’t cohesively think. He really can’t. Will looks so handsome laying there, he looked so handsome last night, he looks so handsome all the time-

Tom scoffs at himself, and swiftly exits Will’s bedroom. He checks his watch and is so very thankful to find it’s very early in the morning. About half past five. That gave him enough time to get home before Joe got  home, and before his mother woke up-

God, had he really spent the night there? Tom grimaces to himself as he lets himself out onto the Schofield’s porch, taking great care in making his exit a quiet one. This was one of the few times where he was glad he had ridden his bike over that day. It had been before all the raining had started, which is a shame, because his bike’s absolutely soaked.

He supposes he can manage, though, and even if his ass is soaked, it’s far better than the embarrassment he would have gotten from Will waking up, arms still wrapped around him.

He peddles back up Lucky Lane, and the one of two thoughts on his mind is that he wishes he had his Walkman. He hated the silence, not even the birds were awake yet to fill it.

The other is weighing far heavier on his mind, though.

Why hadn’t Will moved?


Tom gets home just a few minutes before Joe does, which he presumes is just his luck. A near miss was still better than a miss though, and he waves to his brother from the porch, billows of smoke about him.

“You’re up early.” Joe says in a chipper, but tired voice as he slams the car door shut. He trots up to the porch, a small smile on his face. “Give your favourite brother a ciggie then?”

“Couldn’t sleep.” Tom states, pulling one from his pack, handing it to the older man. “And I’ll have you know Myrtle’s my favourite brother.”

Joe laughs at that, quickly lighting himself up.

“I’m sure she’s mum’s favourite child, too.”

That time it’s Tom’s turn to laugh, before they stand there silently in the misty early morning. Joe finally breaks the silence after a long moment by clearing his throat, before speaking.

“So why are you in yesterday’s clothes, then?”

Goddammit. And he just thought he’d gotten past the bad part.

“I’m not.” He lies, shrugging. “You’re mistaken.”

“No, yesterday morning I told you the other shirt you had on had a bolognese stain on it. That’s why you changed into that one.” Joe explains, gesturing with his cigarette. “You’re a miserable liar Tommy.”

Tom simply groans and turns away, popping his arms on the veranda railing.

“And,” Joe starts, that smug tone of his that Tom really hates creeping into his voice. “If you felt the need to fib about it, that means something of note has gone on.”

“Nothing of note’s gone on,” Tom frowns, accentuating the sentence with a less than chuffed snort. “You’re just poking your nose into my business like usual. Like a terrible brother.”

“Cool it then, cool it then.” Joe laughs, leaning down beside Tom. Tom makes a point of looking away, and something about that must be funny to Joe, because he laughs again.

They remain silent for a moment, and Tom hopes very much that Joe’s going to drop the subject, but-

“Where’d you stay the night, then?” Joe asks suddenly, and Tom can’t help the disgruntled, and frankly a tad unbelieving groan that slips from him.

“How did you know that?” He asks incredulously, swinging his head back over to face his older brother. He’s met by Joe’s smirking, unbelievably pleased face, and that just makes Tom more annoyed. Joe did this quite often, a switch and bait to goad answers out of him. Tom hated it, and he says as such.

“I hate when you do that.”

“I know.” Joe says with a grin, putting his cigarette to his lips. “Where’d you stay, then?”

“I don’t have to answer that.” Tom spits back, returning his glare to the other side of the porch. Goddammit. Goddammit.

“I can’t think of you staying at anyone’s place, most of your friends are on holiday or busy with putting together stuff for Uni. So you better-”

Joe cuts himself off then, and there’s another small silence between then. Carefully, Tom makes the decision to look back over, and Christ- He didn’t think Joe’s face could look more smug. Tom wants to smack him, but he doesn’t. Tom rolls his eyes.

“What’s got you so pleased, then?” He says finally. Joe shrugs, but that horrible little cheshire smile of his stays.

“You stayed at Will’s, huh?”

This time, Tom does smack him, albeit gently on the shoulder, His face has gone terribly red all of a sudden.

“Oh, don’t say it like that, you cunt.”  Joe laughs again, so Tom smacks him again, a bit harder than the last time. “And don’t look so enthralled, either.”

“I am enthralled, I think I can look as such,” Joe retorts, stepping back. Tom guesses it’s in case he gets another smack. “What happened, then? That’s the first time you’ve stayed at his place longer than a day.”

“Nothing happened, I just fell asleep there.” Tom says stiffly. He pretends to be fascinated with his cuticles. It wasn’t… a complete lie. He just left out what had happened leading up to his bout of unconsciousness.

“Don’t tell me I have to go beating him up now, Tommy.” Joe sniggers, and Tom rolls his eyes again. Wouldn’t that be a funny thought? If more had gone on than just chaste half cuddling and innocent sleeping together? The thought almost makes Tom laugh if it didn’t make him want to throw his hands over his face first.

“Christ, no, shut the hell up you absolute shithead.” Tom says after licking his lips. “I just fell asleep on his bed is all.”

“Where’d he sleep then?” Joe asks, in what Tom guesses is his attempt at an inconspicuous tone.

Tom’s face goes, somehow against all odds, even more red,

“On the bed next to me. Nothing happened. Literally, nothing.” Tom says, and he tosses the butt of his cigarette into the garden. He’d go and pick it up later, his mother hated seeing them in the grass. 

Tom promptly turns on his heels, aiming to go inside after slamming the door in Joe’s face, intending to wash his hands of the whole conversation. He had forgotten that since he hadn’t gone inside yet, that it was still locked, and he groans in frustration as he fidgets with his keys.

“Doesn’t sound like nothing with how you’re acting, mate.” Joe shrugs. “I’ll drop it before you go about biting my head off, though.”

“Thank you.” It’s only a moment before Tom’s inside, letting Myrtle out into the yard in the process. “I’m going to be now.”

“Goodnight princess.” Joe calls back, and Tom quietly shuts the door. He doesn’t want to wake his mum.


Tom doesn’t normally sleep in late. He likes to see his mum before she goes off to work, and he quite enjoys being able to get the most from his day. He sure as hell isn’t a morning person, but that sure hasn’t stopped him.

It's nearly two o’clock by time he wakes up, though, and there’s a miserable ache in his shoulder from sleeping on it. The haze of sleep does not cloud his thoughts as it normally does, though, and he’s immediately back to thinking about that morning.

Was it the right thing to do? To leave like that? The questions that had plagued him earlier on his bike now had new friends. He wishes they all had a different place to congregate. 

Will was a nice boy. A really handsome, clever, utterly kindhearted boy. Not to mention that dry wit of humor he had which, despite it’s usually sardonic tone, Tom had grown terribly fond of.

How dare he just waltz into Tom’s life, being like that, being just Tom’s type, only to be straight?

Tom pulls himself from his bed with a groan, before collecting a fresh set of clothes. He had simply discarded his trousers and jacket and slept in his shirt and boxers.

After getting his garments for the day settled, Tom pads off down the hallway, and makes sure to keep his shower just slightly on the cold side.

Lord help him.


“Ellis’s having a party tonight. Called me on the phone, earlier he did.”

Tom and Joe are seated at the dinner table with their mum. It’s one of the few times they have that week to all be together in the same room. Tom’s a bit upset with himself for not focusing on that, though. His mind’s still thinking about Will.

He had considered calling earlier- But quite frankly, the idea made him feel like vomiting. So he didn’t. He didn’t go out either, because he couldn’t stand the thought of running into Will. He just ended up secluding himself at home all day until their mother got home.

“Is he?” Tom asks through a mouthful of curry, which his mother swats him on the arm for. 

“Yeah, he asked if you and Will would like to come.”  Joe stares down Tom from across the table, a knowing little grin on his face. God, he was doing that so much these days. Tom loathed it.

“I think mum wants me to stay here, actually.” Tom replies quickly, shoving down another spoonful of curry. His mother glances at him and snorts.

“I’ve got a telly program on tonight, so no I do not.” She laughs. “I love having you both here for dinner, but I’ve been working like a dog lately. Serves me well to have some alone time after work. Speaking of which, Tommy dear, get a job, please.”

Tom frowns, and adjusts himself in his seat. He can feel Joe’s expectant eyes on him.

“I’m working on it, mum. Tape shop by the bakery is hiring.” 

“Working boy, how lovely. So you and Will will come, then?” Joe interjects. Tom feels more agitated by the second, and he licks his lips.

“No, I didn’t say that. You’re sure you don’t need me around then, mum?”

Mrs. Blake raises her eyebrows down at her curry, and glances up to both of them.

“Christ almighty you two.” She says simply, standing from the table to refill her wine glass. “Tommy, just go with him, you know he won’t let up.”

“But mummmmmmmm ,” Tom groans, kicking his foot against the floor. “I don’t want to.”

“It’s a genuine shock,” She says, taking a sip from her wine glass, before adding more to it. “That for once, you are vehemently against spending time with Ellis Leslie. I could almost be pleased if I wasn’t so concerned.”

She sighs, and sits back down at the table with her wine glass, glancing over at Tom.

“Tommy, listen to mum.” Joe adds, nodding rapidly. “We can pick up Will on our way there.”

“What if he doesn’t want to go?” Tom sneers, and he pushes his chair back from the table, crossing his arms. He wasn’t particularly hungry anymore.

“Well, then we’re taking him kicking and screaming.”

Tom groans, and mulls over his options. For one thing, he understood whatever Joe was trying to do. He, much to Tom’s chagrin, knew that he liked Will. For another, he knew Joe was trying to pair them up, as useless as that seemed. It was silly. Terribly silly.

Tom does suppose he owes Will an apology for his radio silence, though. As nervous as doing such a thing made him, he knew he was the ass if he didn’t say something.

Tom groans, and gets up from the table, shoving his plate into the sink.

“I’ll call him and see if he wants to go, but if he doesn’t want to, then I’m not going.”

Joe cheers wildly at that, and bangs his fists against the table, spilling curry down his front. Their mother sighs, and takes another sip of her wine.

“God help the both of you,” She says dryly, although there is something mildly amused locked into her voice. “Cause I'm not capable.”


Once their mother has settled into the living room, and Joe’s run off upstairs for a shower to clean himself up, Tom very hesitantly uses the rotary to dial the Schofield’s number.

It rings for a bit longer than Tom anticipated, and he debates hanging up, but that’s until he hears the very familiar click of the call connecting. Oh God.

“Hello?” Says Will’s voice, sounding a bit confused. Tom licks his lips.

“Hi hi, it’s Tom.”

Will doesn’t reply for a moment, and at first Tom thinks he’s been hung up on. After a long moment though, Will speaks.

“Hello Tom.” It’s a very plain response, while still being polite. A good sign, Tom wagers.

“My brother’s mate is having a party,” Tom says a bit too fast, nearly tripping over his own tongue. “They wondered if you might like to go?”

“A party?” Will replies, something peculiar in his voice that Tom can’t pin down. Surprise maybe? He’s unsure.

“Yeah, just us and a couple other folks, hanging about, drinking. I know the bloke hosting.”

“Um,” Will says softly, and Tom can tell he has that nervous expression on again. “You’re going?”

“Yes.”

“When’s the party, then?”

“Tonight.” Tom curls the phone cord in his fist. He’s unsure what answer he wants from Will, but he’s terribly sure he’ll feel anxiety over either.

“Um, I can go, I suppose.”

Tom exhales a breath he didn’t even know he was holding.

“Okay, um, we can pick you up on our way there if you’d like?” Tom’s voice rises slightly in the back of his throat, and he gulps.

“No I-  don’t want to be any trouble, plus I’d like to be home before it’s too late. Can you give me directions instead?”

Tom knows how nervous he is to see Will, but he still wishes they could go in the same car.

“No, yeah, that’s fine. Do you have a pen and paper?”

Tom delivers his instructions rather quickly and concisely, which is very easy since he knows the way to Ellis’s ruddy flat by heart. He makes Will repeat it back to him twice, and then they’re done.

“We’re leaving whenever Joe gets out of the shower, so we’ll be there in say, forty five minutes? At the very most.” 

“That’s fine. I’ll leave a bit earlier, in case I get lost.”

“Okay.”

“Alright. See you there, Tom?”

“See you there, Will.”

They both say goodbye at the same time, and Tom doesn’t think he’s ever been more glad to get off the phone.

He busies himself while Joe gets ready, changes his clothes numerous times (he settles on a The Smiths shirt and jeans, mostly because he knows Will will probably compliment him on it,) and putzes with his hair. He watches bits of his mother’s soap opera, and leaves when the leads kiss. He smokes a dozen nervous cigarettes on the porch.

It feels like it took a million years, but Joe’s finally ready. They say a nice little goodbye to their mum (and Myrtle, who’s resting at her feet on the sofa,) before piling into the car.

“Are we picking him up then?” Joe asks as he turns the ignition, putting his arm over the back of Tom’s seat as they back out of the driveway. Tom shakes his head.

“Gave him directions. Said he’ll meet us there.”

Joe grins again, and pats Tom on the shoulder as they enter the main road.

“Hope he’s ready for a fucking party, then.”

Chapter Text

Tom’s never been one to be carsick, but on the drive over to Ellis Leslie’s he feels like he’s going to throw up. 

What was he even going to say to Will when he saw him? Hey, thanks for that tension filled little cuddle we had the other night? Sorry for leaving at such an early hour, most likely leaving you confused? Oh God, how I want to kiss you senseless? It was miserable, utterly miserable.

The only somewhat good thing about the car ride over is that Joe remains thankfully silent, simply turning up the radio as high as it will go.

I don't ever want to feel

Like I did that day

Take me to the place I love

Take me all the way.”

It’s a quick drive. Ellis’s flat is in a complex just outside the main part of town, right before the ramp to get on the highway. It’s terribly dingy and cheap, but Tom supposes it’s the best Ellis can get for the cash he has on him. Liquor store clerks don’t get paid very much. 

There’s several cars lined up in the dusty gravel parking lot as the Blakes pull up, but only one of them is turned on. A terribly beat Ford F150, it’s tail lights covering the car park in an aggressive red tint. Tom’s stomach turns miserably, and when Joe’s finally pulled his keys from the ignition, they both exit the car.

Will must have seen them pull in, because it’s only another moment before he cautiously gets out of his truck. Tom tries to seem casual, and bounds over, but his feet very quickly get tangled underneath him. He just barely manages not to trip.

“Hi hi, Will.” Tom pants, grinning up at the older boy as naturally as he can. Will looks genuinely surprised to see Tom, his face pulled into a clipped, neutral expression.

“Hello Tom.” He says back politely, as he always does. Tom's hands fall to his knees as he catches his breath, and he nods up at Will.

“I hope we didn’t keep you waiting too long. Joe tends to preen.” Tom finally stands up, and tries to pat Will on the shoulder, but the other man flinches. Tom doesn’t say anything about it, and Joe comes over to them just a moment later.

“You preen too, you don’t have a right to complain.” Joe laughs, and he does actually clap a hand to Will’s shoulder. Will doesn’t flinch this time, but he does look rather uncomfortable. Tom fights back a frown.

“Um, shall we go in then?” Tom asks, nodding back and forth to each man. Joe grins, and evidently agrees, because he goes rocketing off to the apartment complex stairs, leaving the other two men alone. Tom gulps.

“About yesterday-” Will starts, and Tom’s eyes dart back over to him. He looked nervous. Terribly nervous. Tom tries to smile reassuringly, and his hand goes to Will’s wrist.

“You wanna talk about it over a beer?”

“God, please.


There’s already far too many people crowded into Ellis’s flat, Tom immediately notices. It was probably a fire hazard or something, but Tom guesses the party’s occupants probably aren’t concerned about that.

Ellis immediately comes up to greet them, pulling Joe into what Tom would describe as a less than chaste hug. He grimaces and looks up to Will, who looks terribly uncomfortable.

Joe says something to Ellis that Tom can’t hear, there’s something terribly loud and terribly german playing from the boom box, but it must be funny, because Ellis laughs, gazing over at Will and Tom.

“This him then? That boy?” Ellis asks loudly, stumbling closer to the two of them. Tom can practically smell the liquor on the older man, and he absently wonders how he ever had a crush on him. He clears his throat.

“Yeah, Ellis, this is Will, Suzy Schofield’s his nan.” Tom nods up to Will, and Ellis dramatically nods up to him too.

“Joey said Tommy’s said soooooooo much about you,” Ellis slurs, extending a less than stable hand. Will takes it, remaining silent, and the two share the most awkward handshake Tom thinks he’s ever been witness to. Joe laughs, before trotting off to the kitchen.

Tom feels absolutely mortified, because Christ, what had he said about Will to Joe? And what had he communicated to Ellis? His face goes a horrible shade of pink, and he hasn’t even begun drinking yet.

“Has he?” Will asks after a moment, barely loud enough to be heard over the music. Ellis grins then, dropping Will’s hand. “You cunts just have to be parched then, follow along if you know what’s good for you.”

Ellis swaggers off towards the kitchen after a very wobbly turn of his heels, leaving Tom and Will in the doorway, surrounded by strangers. Will coughs, and Tom tries to grin up to him.

“Quite the character, isn’t he? He’s Joe’s best mate.” Tom half shouts over the music. Will nods to him, a peculiar little smile on his face. It’s not exactly mirthful, but it’s the best Tom can get right now, so he grabs Will by the wrist, and pulls him into the kitchen.

He would make tonight go well, so help him God.


“Did you know that Kim Deal didn’t even play bass before she joined Pixies?”

“No, no, dear, tell me more.”

Of all the things Tom had expected from the night, Ellis and Will becoming engrossed in conversation had not been one of them. Tom forgets how the conversation started, he’s already on his third beer, but somehow it had been going on for the past twenty minutes. 

“She learned bass for Pixies, that’s why their bass lines are so unique sounding.” Will says as-matter-of-factly, taking a long sip from his blue plastic cup. Ellis nods on in whatever drunken splendor he’s achieved, Joe by his side, occasionally adding into conversation.

The only one left out was Tom, and he was very acutely aware of that fact. He just hated being left out, pushed out of a conversation he couldn’t even contribute to.

So he leaves, he stalks out into the living room, past crowds of drunken bodies, and sits down on the couch, sipping his beer idly.

“Are you Joe’s brother?” A trilling voice asks next to him, and he glances over dumbly.

Next to him on the couch were two girls, one in the other’s lap, and Tom recognized both of them. The girl on top of the other, with sprawling dark brown curls, was Joe’s ex-girlfriend, Lauri. The one underneath her was the girl from the pub. Penny, if Tom’s memory could recall her name tag correctly.

“Me?” He half slurs, adjusting himself to face them.

“You.” Says Penny, and Lauri must find that funny, because she giggles. Tom doesn’t understand what’s so funny, and he takes another long sip of his beer before answering.

“Yeah, I’m Joe’s brother.” He nods, and crosses an ankle over his knee. Penny nods back.

“Are you bent then too?” She asks, pulling Lauri back against her chest. The shorter girl responds by covering the neck with kisses, and Tom looks away, the gravity of the question sinking in seconds later.

“Excuse me?” He asks incredulously, his head swinging back around quicker than he knew possible.

“Sorry, music is a bit loud, innit?” Penny clears her throat, before shouting her question. “ ARE YOU BENT THEN TOO ?”

Tom reels back, nearly falling off the couch in the process. He quickly regains his composure, and blinks over at Penny wildly.

“Can you keep your voice down, please ?” He hisses. He frowns to himself, and scoots closer, careful to keep his voice down. “You can’t just go about asking things like that!”

“Oh, love, I can. I just did. Didn’t I, lamb?” Penny asks Lauri, and Lauri nods against her neck, clearly preoccupied. Tom looks away again, his face bright pink.

“What sort of question is that to ask? A bit personal, innit?” Tom tugs at his collar. Maybe he should have stayed in the kitchen with the uncomfortable familiarity of being ignored.

“The kind I just asked. I just figured I’d ask, I’d hate to go assuming your sexuality.”

Oh. Oh no. Tom had never apologized to her for that night at the pub those few months ago, had he? She hadn’t been on shift the couple of times he and Will had paid trips there, and the original plan of apologizing to her had faded from his mind. His face and neck burns.

“Oh my God, I am so sorry Penny. For that one night at the pub, when you was working-”

Penny’s birdsong laugh cuts him off though, and Lauri’s follows soon after.

“Oh, you are just the funniest, Joe’s right.” She dramatically wipes a nonexistent tear from her eye, before leaning in close. As close as she could manage with another girl in her lap, at the least.

Tom stares at her with the utmost confusion. How was he meant to take that?

“It’s fine, love, all fine. I promise, oh, God,” She bursts into another fit of giggles, and Tom frowns. He felt left out of whatever joke this was, and he considers getting up, but Penny’s hand against his arm pulls him from his thoughts.

“You and that boy kissed yet?” She asks, her eyes meeting Tom’s. Tom gulps and his ears go bright red.

“Why the hell would we have kissed?” Tom asks, very agitated. It was like the universe was taunting him at this point. Firstly, whatever happened last night with Will (which was, admittedly, his own fault,) secondly, getting pushed from the conversation in the kitchen, and now, this. Tom takes a bitter sip of his beer.

Cause you fancyyyyy himmmmm, ” Lauri giggles, finally pulling back from Penny’s neck. “ Joe said.

Tom makes a mental note to kill his brother later, already considering places to hide the body.

“He told you that?” He asks, swallowing down the rest of his beer. He felt absolutely downright murderous right now.

Nooooo, ” Penny starts, adjusting Lauri in her lap. “He told Ellis, who told me, who told little lamb Lauri,” She pauses to deliver a healthy tickle to Lauri’s sides, and Tom rolls his eyes, “Who just told you!”

Tom doesn’t respond past a scoff for a moment. Alright, murder list included Ellis now. Now he’d need either a twin grave or two spots to hide a body.

“Even if- Even if I did fancy him, he doesn’t fancy me much at all, so you’re still very silly for asking.” Tom finally sputters.

“Who said he doesn’t fancy you?” Penny asks, suddenly very caught up in combing her fingers through Lauri’s hair.

“Well, since he’s straight, I’d assume I wouldn’t be his idea of-”

“Straight!” Penny laughs, and Tom stares at her crossly. “Sorry, have you actually asked him if he is?”

Tom pauses heavily. He supposes he hadn’t.

“I suppose I haven’t,” He replies stiffly, “But it’s a bit rude to ask, yeah?”

“Says who?”

“Says lots of people, actually.”

“Save your heart love, Christ almighty.” Penny snorts. “Maybe you should ask him”

“And why is that?” Tom retorts, peeling the label from his bottle of beer.

“Maybe he’ll kiss you then.”

“That’s enough now, piss off.” Tom pulls himself off the couch, glaring back at the both of them. Good God, the adrenaline, frustration, and painful embarrassment was all too much now.

“Best of luck, Tommy!” She calls after him, and Tom throws up a V at her.


Tom is very thankful to find Will alone in the kitchen, staring rather melancholically down into his cup of vodka. He doesn’t hesitate to drag the older boy by the arm, dragging him to the doorway. Will stares down at him with wide eyes, but follows along.

“Yes, hello Tom.” Will says, nearly spilling the contents of his cup as he steps over a passed out patron on the floor.

“Where are Joe and Ellis?” Tom asks quickly, abruptly turning on his heels to face Will. They bump chests, and Will looks borderline mortified.

“Um, they were having a bit of a snog in the kitchen, and then the hallway, and probably somewhere else now. I don’t know.” Will admits, looking rather uncomfortable. “Where are we off to?”

“We are going to have a smoke.” Tom answers quickly, turning back around, hand slipping about Will’s wrist.

“People are smoking inside.”

“I want fresh air.”

“It’s cold out.”

“No it’s not.”

“Alright.”

“Alright!”


Tom looks at Will. Like, really looks at him. The expression the older man is wearing is decidedly a mixture of confusion, worry, and maybe a bit of shame. Tom can hardly tell through the alcohol buzz coursing through him. So he looks at Will, who looks back for a moment, before staring down at the yard between them.

Tom hadn’t asked if Will wasn’t straight. God fucking damn it. He had been so sure, absolute stiff in his opinion of the man’s sexuality that he hadn’t even thought to ask. Then again, his politeness and fear of getting beaten up had clouded his judgement. Most men didn’t take kindly to such questions. Will opens his mouth.

“Last night-” He starts, brow furrowing. He gestures his cigarette towards Tom, and Tom follows the red hot cherry before interrupting.

“Be quiet for a second, I’m looking at you.” Tom says stiffly. He licks his lips before taking a long drag of his cigarette. Will complies, his jaw snapping shut.

“What do you think of the gays?” Tom asks suddenly, running a frenzied hand through his hair.

Will looks as if Tom’s put a gun to his head.

“Pardon?” He says, looking up nervously at Tom.

“What,” Tom takes a step closer, and he really knows he might regret being so forward if this doesn’t go wrong, but he can’t help himself. Just like he couldn’t help himself last night. “Do you think of gay people?”

Will flounders for a moment, clearly intending to step back from Tom, but his feet simply shuffle uselessly against the pavement.

“Um, well, they’re certainly people.” He responds, nervously tugging at the end of his jacket collar. “What of them?”

“Do you like them?” Tom steps closer.

“I’m alright with them.”

Tom quirks a brow at him. That was a good thing, wasn’t it?

“Would you be friends with one?”

“I do suppose so, yeah.” Will nods, and then shakes his head, and then nods again.

Another good thing. Tom would find Will’s physical response endearing if he wasn’t so anxious for more answers.

“Are you gay?” He asks finally, cocking his head to the side. Will’s response is less immediate that time, and oh God, Tom really feels like he’s stepped in it now.

“Um-” Will starts.

“Cause it wouldn’t matter to me, Will.” Tom interrupts, his expression softening.

Will looks as if he’s choking.

“Sorry?”

“If you are, I’d be okay with it, honest to God I would be.”

They both go quiet for a moment, staring at the other. Tom looks at the ground, and stares at their shoes.

“Are you gay, Tom?” Will asks softly. Tom looks up.

He thinks it’s unfair for Will to look like that. Even with such a miserably concerned look on his face, he was utterly dishy, unfairly handsome. Tom wants to kiss him so damn bad.

“Do you want to go to the beach?” Tom blurts, dropping his cigarette.

Will looks at him for a moment, and something changes in his expression. Tom can’t place quite what.

“Sure, Tom.”

Chapter Text

They’re both dead silent as they sit in the cab of Will’s truck, newscast babbling aimlessly over the radio. Tom’s leg bounces up and down at a rapid pace, only stilling when he plants a firm hand on his knee.

What the hell did he even expect from asking Will to go to the beach? He didn’t plan for any of this, he had absolutely no clue what he was going to do. And yet-

Will hadn’t answered his question. Tom hadn’t answered his either, to be fair. They had both deflected somewhat quickly.

Suddenly, Will’s hand shoots out to fiddle with the radio knobs, and the abrupt change in sound makes Tom lurch forward in his seat.

“Sorry! Didn’t um, didn’t mean to give you a scare. I can’t stand the news.” Will says quickly, glancing over at Tom. His lips were pulled back into a tight frown, eyebrows knitted tighter than a sweater.

“‘S’alright.” Tom replies, picking at his nails. There was a miserable tension in the air between them, and he’s sure he’s ruined everything.

He had to ask himself the same question he had asked Penny earlier: It is a bit rude to ask, isn’t it? At the very least, Will hadn’t reacted in anger. Tom could remain secure in the fact that he wasn’t mad.

“About last night,” Will starts. It’s the third time he’s tried to bring it up, so Tom finally lets him. “I’m- I’m terribly sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”

Tom blinks at him. Will’s eyes stay pointedly on the road, and his fingers tap nervously against the steering wheel.

“I don’t- I don’t know what really to say, I just-” Will sighs heavily as they pull into the beach, parking on the sand. There’s another heavy beat of silence.

Tom feels very confused. Made him uncomfortable? Why in the world would he have been uncomfortable? He was the one who had made a shoddy attempt at a move. Will should be the one that’s uncomfortable.

“Tom, look, you asked me back at that party if I was gay, alright? And you said it wouldn’t matter if I was,” Will turns off the truck, before shifting in his seat to face Tom. The younger man feels miserably small in that moment, and he fidgets with his hands.

“I am. I am gay. I know your brother is too because I saw him snogging Elton-”

“Ellis.” Tom corrects him. He doesn’t really have anything else to say.

“Ellis, whatever, your brother was snogging him, he’s gay, so I do believe you when you say you don’t mind if I am. So I am.” Will says finally. He looks as if he might shrivel into his seat and die, Tom thinks, and he feels terribly guilty. Will’s nervousness was all his fault, after all, and-

Tom’s train of thought stops abruptly.

Will Schofield is gay. William Schofield, Susan Schofield’s wonderfully handsome and bitterly funny grandson, was gay. Tom could almost jump for joy, if it wasn’t for one thing.

Just because Will was gay didn’t mean he returned his affections. Tom swallows heavily, and licks his lips. That would be his luck, wouldn’t it? For Will to be gay but not share his feelings? Tom laughs cheerlessly, staring up at Will.

“Wh- Why’s that funny?” Will asks, the corner of his lip twitching into a deep frown. Tom supposes it was a bit rude of him to laugh right now, even if It wasn’t at Will’s expense. He clears his throat.

“Sorry, um, I wasn’t laughing at you, I just-” Tom starts to laugh again, but it quickly turns into something more choked. Tom is extremely horrified to realize he is on the verge of sobbing.

He wipes his face with his hand, and hurriedly cranks down his window, scrambling to pull himself out a cigarette. He offers one to Will, who very hesitantly takes it.

“I just, um, sorry, God-” He tries again, the flicker of his lighter briefly coating the cab in an orange glow. He can just barely make out Will’s puzzled expression from the corner of his eye.

“Are you alright? Am I- Do you want me to take you back to the party?” Will asks softly, pulling out his own lighter. There’s another momentary splash of light, and Will opens his own window.

Tom stays quiet for a long moment.

“I don’t want to go back to the party,” Tom opens, scooting closer to the middle console. He leans forward, placing one elbow onto it. He licks his lips. “I want to be here with you.”

Will’s eyes go wide, and he nearly drops his cigarette. He shifts in an uneasy manner, pressing himself back against the door.

“Why?” He asks, seemingly a bit mystified. 

“Um,” Tom rubs his face again, and shrugs. He really didn’t know where he was going with this at all. He feels that, at the least, he should apologize for making Will so nervous.

“I apologize if I made you nervous at all, by asking if you were gay.” Tom borderline whispers, exhaling heavily. “And um, I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable last night, too, I just-”

Tom smiles, then frowns, then smiles again. Will cocks his head at him, turning his head to the side to exhale a heavy cloud of tobacco smoke. It was something he always did when they were in close quarters, as to not blow it in Tom’s face. It was one of the things about him that Tom found far too endearing to justify.

“I just like you so much, Will, and I know that just because you’re gay too-”

“You’re gay?” Will blurts. This time he does drop his cigarette, and the acrid smell of it burning the rubber floormate is immediate. Will swears excessively, and scrambles to pick it up, tossing it out the window.

He looks back over to Tom, and God, how he wants to kiss the older boy.

“I just- I really, really like you Will, I like you a lot, and you’re so sweet, and sarcastic, and unfairly dishy, I just-” Tom groans, scrambling to collect his thoughts. He guesses there’s no point in stopping his jumbled confession now.

“I like that you listen to interesting music, and that you dress a bit prissy, and that you’re my best mate. I like that your hands are warm and how you listen to me talk about daft things like cows and sea glass and different types of cherries, and-”

“Tom-” Will stretches out a hand to grip Tom’s shoulder, but he hardly notices. He continues on his rambling.

“-and I know that just because you’re gay it doesn’t mean you like me, because I thought you were straight before and I already expected you to reject me-”

“Tom.” Will says again, a bit firmer this time. Tom’s chest heaves uselessly, and he realizes he’s crying, just a little. It’s what he had been afraid of doing, but he doesn’t stop.

“-so if you don’t feel the same way, I understand Will, I just don’t want you to stop being my friend-”

Tom. ” Will says sternly, shaking Tom’s shoulder. A meager sob wracks through him, and he sniffles, staring up at Will with watery eyes.

Why does he always have to look so handsome? Will doesn’t even try to be, it just comes naturally to him. Even when he looked sour, or downtrodden, or whatever he looked like right now, he was downright bloody gorgeous, all the time. Tom wishes he wasn’t so pretty. It’d be so much easier if he wasn’t pretty, wasn’t moving closer by the second-

Wasn’t kissing him.

Tom barely registers it at first. He’s thought about it so much, about kissing Will, that he almost thinks he’s imagining it. He only realizes he isn’t when Will pulls away. 

“I’m so sorry if that was too forward, but Jesus Christ, Tom-” Will whispers, firmly gripping Tom’s jacket. Tom blinks wildly at him, another hiccup of a sob jolting through him.

“My nose has gone runny,” He says, a bit astounded. “I don’t want to get snot on your face, hold on.”

Will’s lip quirks upwards at that, and he pulls back a bit as Tom runs his sleeve across his face. He’ll have to wash this jacket sometime soon.

He finds himself satisfied, and although he’s still a bit thunderstruck, he finds himself giddy too. Gleeful, even. He shivers.

“I’d have asked you if you were gay sooner if I knew it’d lead to you kissing me.” Tom half laughs, sniffling. He licks his lips, and looks up through his lashes at Will.

“You’re a silly bastard.” Will says softly, running a hand up to Tom’s cheek. He very eagerly leans into the touch, and finally gives himself the grace to feel relief.

“I know.” He says back, and he leans back in, intending to kiss him again, but hesitates. Something was off.

“What is it?” Will asks him, running a thumb against Tom’s cheek. Tom sighs, and shuts his eyes for a moment, savouring the tenderness of the gesture.

“Don’t laugh,” Tom starts softly, tossing his forgotten cigarette out the window. Ashes get everywhere, but neither of them seem to care. “But can we put on the radio?”

Will does laugh, and Tom’s not at all mad. He pulls his hand from Tom’s face, and fiddles with the tape player momentarily, before the opening of a song Tom doesn’t recognize begins.

Then he kisses Will again, and he tastes like cheap vodka and the inside of an ashtray, but damn, if it isn’t the best thing Tom’s ever tasted.

“With your feet on the air 

and your head on the ground,

Try this trick and spin it, yeah.

Your head will collapse, 

and there’s nothing in it,

And you’ll ask yourself:

Where is my mind?

Where is my mind?

Where is my mind?”

 


“Do you think Joe and Ellis have noticed we’ve gone?” Tom asks from his place in Will’s lap, looking up as the older man cards a hand through his hair.

They had spent a good chunk of the twenty minutes locked at the lips, occasionally breaking away for breathless laughter. Eventually, the awkward angle of leaning over the center console had been enough for Tom, and he insisted they take the shoddy wool blanket from behind Will’s seat and throw it into the bed of the truck.

Tom told Will they should turn the truck around so they could look at the ocean properly, and he had. They had bantered a bit back and forth as he had, Tom badly directing him from the shore. Will didn’t seem to mind.

“Maybe. I don’t know them as well as you do.” Will replies, brushing a careful curl from Tom’s face. Tom thought his thighs made a very comfortable pillow.

“They’re probably… busy.” Tom breathlessly laughs. He pulls up from Will’s lap, and chooses instead to sit in it. As surprised as Will looks, he certainly doesn’t look displeased. His thighs bracket Will’s, and the fabric of their trousers emits a small sound as they connect.

“Don’t make me think about them like that.” Will replies, falsifying a gag. Tom laughs.

“I don’t want to think about it either.” So he doesn’t.

Will’s arms fit around his torso like they were meant to be there, creeping around him like ivy creeps around a well loved house. There’s something supremely romantic there, Tom guesses, but he’s far too caught up in Will’s warmth to really think on it.

Will exhales heavily, his lips falling open just so, and Tom wants to kiss him. He realizes he can, so he does.

“You’re such a funny boy,” Will whispers against his mouth, slipping his hands under his jacket. Tom can’t help but shiver, returning the favour. Will’s sides recoil, and there’s a breathless chuckle from the older man’s chest.

“Why’s that?” Tom murmurs, balling up Will’s button up in his hands. It had come untucked from his trousers, and Tom supposes he could slip his hands up Will’s shirt. He doesn’t though. He’d have time for that later, he’s secure in that fact.

“Just,” Will grins against Tom’s lips, and Tom follows suit. “I just- you have a very peculiar way of flirting, that’s all I’m thinking about.”

Tom pulls back, brow furrowed slightly in curiosity. He licks his lips, and he can see the way Will’s eyes notice.

“How do you mean?”

“Well,” Will starts, slipping his hand down Tom’s sides, and under his shirt. Dirty bastard stole his idea. “Do you remember the whole sardine thing from yesterday?”

Tom nearly chokes.

“Oh God,” He whispers to himself, going bright red. “Oh, Christ, I wasn’t flirting then.”

“Would you kiss me if I ate anchovies and sardines?” Will asks, a bit teasingly. If he didn’t look so nice in the moonlight, and didn’t have his gentle hands against Tom’s skin, Tom might just smack him. Gently, sure, but he’d still smack him.

“I just kissed you now, didn’t I?”

That makes Will laugh, and it’s such a beautiful sound, Tom can hardly stand it. He presses his lips back to Will’s, running his tongue against his bottom lip. Will exhales heavily through his nose, and his grip on Tom’s sides tightens slightly.

“Yeah.” Will whispers, fruitlessly trying to pull Tom closer. “You did.”

Tom doesn’t come up with any verbal response, simply letting his roaming hands and eager mouth speak for him.

He doubts he could communicate what he was feeling better than they did.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure she’s not going to wake up?”

“Will, shut the fuck up.” 

It has been precisely two weeks since the party at Ellis Leslie’s, and precisely two weeks since Tom got frenched in the bed of Will’s truck. The night in question isn’t quite picturesque in Tom’s memory, but he still thinks of it highly.

Will Schofield liking him back was a delight he would never take for granted. Excuses upon excuses had been made to Joe about where the hell Tom and Will had snuck off to, and although he was suspicious, he ultimately accepted the lie that Tom had gotten sick and Will had driven him home early.

In reality, they had spent the half the night in the truck bed of Will’s Ford, kissing and breaking to talk. They talked a lot. At some point, Tom had fallen asleep with his head against Will’s chest, and in Will’s own words, “You looked too precious to wake up.”

Tom had woken up, though, sometime before dawn, and they drove back to the Blake’s in comfortable silence. Tom dozed in and out of sleep, but it was such a wonderful, hazy feeling. He knew when he was awake because every time he stirred, Will would squeeze his hand.

Will held his hand very often when they drove places, now. 

Tonight though, oh boy, tonight was a far different affair. There was no sweet, private silence, it was instead replaced by a tenser one.

He was sneaking Will into his room, in the dead of night, while his mother was home. Will was very anxious, to say the least.

“I just- Tom, I really would hate to see us both in trouble, that’s all,” Will whispers, flexing his hand. Tom’s gripping his wrist like he’s holding on for dear life.

“She’s not a light sleeper. Or at least, not too light. We just got to be quiet. Shut up.” Tom quietly shuts the door behind them, glancing to where Myrtle’s sleeping on the couch. He wasn’t too worried about her, she was used to Will being around during the day, so it should make no matter if he’s here at night.

Tom’s main concern was how dreadfully nervous Will was.

“Keep your hair on and we’ll be fine, alright? If I need an excuse I can come up with something. It’s no problem.”

“You’re a terrible liar though.”

“I told you to shut up, you prick.”

It’s not genuinely aggressive, Tom knows that Will understands that, but Will still feigns offense.

“You’re so mean to me, you know that?” Will says, pouting out a lip as they tiptoe to the stairs.

“I know, I’m just dying to get you to leave me alone.” Tom retorts, turning back to grin at him.

They both struggle not to burst into fits of laughter, and they spend the very slow climb of the stairs spitting insults back and forth. By time they reach Tom’s bedroom door, they’re both on the verge of tears, the occasional giggle nearly setting them off.

They finally make it behind Tom’s door, though, and he doesn’t hesitate to push Will up against it, and pulls his face down, eager to connect their lips.

Will makes a small, contented noise of surprise, and God, if his laughter used to be Tom’s favourite sound, it’s been replaced. It’s been replaced by that sound that always manages to make Will sound absolutely astonished and endlessly pleased. It’s proper beautiful, if Tom thinks so.

“Hello, Tom,” Will murmurs against his mouth, snaking a hand up to Tom’s jaw. The touch is so delicate, so… thankful, in some way, it’s exactly everything Tom’s come to expect from Will.

“Hi, Will.” Tom sighs, fist fulls of Will's shirt in his hands. 

“Eager tonight.” Will remarks, his other hand finding it’s way to the small of Tom’s back, under his shirt.

“Yes.” He stands on his tip toes to press up into Will, before stepping backwards, pulling Will along with him. Will makes that noise again, the little hum, and willingly follows along, nearly tripping on his own shoes.

“Bed?” Will asks softly, pulling his head up for air.

“Bed.”


There’s a lot of fumbling. Like, a ridiculous amount of fumbling. Tom doesn’t think there should be this much considering they’re only taking off clothes. Shoes first, at Tom’s insistence. It’s all good and well for Will, who simply slips off his loafers, but Tom manages to knot his converse even worse. Will offers to untie them, but Tom very flusteredly insists he doesn’t as he struggles to get them off.

Will ends up untying them.

Their fumbling produces a glorious reward though, and it’s the two of them, standing there in their boxers and shirts, each one of them on either side of the bed. They stare at each other.

Tom laughs first. Will follows soon after, and they collapse into the bed together, arms wrapped around one another. 

It’s hard to recall the last time, no, any time where Tom’s felt such a strong sense of adoration for someone like this. It’s so damn engulfing, completely, the sensation of knowing the person in front of you knows. Knows that you care for them.

He kisses Will again, but it’s different than earlier. There’s more intent from it, at least on Tom’s end, and he shoves his hand a hand up the older boy’s shirt. Will borderline yelps.

“Tickles,” Will explains sheepishly as Tom recoils. “But at least your hands are warm.” He laughs, pulling Tom closer with those lovely arms of his. Tom apologizes by covering them in kisses.

“Let me feel your hands then, you cunt.” Tom demands with a snort, grabbing Will’s hands. They are, in fact, colder than anticipated, and Tom’s hand jerks.

“Oh my God,” Tom half laughs, gripping Will’s hands. Will has evidently moved on from the conversation, laying gentle, neat kisses against his neck. It almost causes Tom to lose his train of thought. “Are you fucking dead?” 

Nooooo.” Will whispers against Tom’s neck. Tom pulls Will’s hands under his shirt, under his thin grey t-shirt, and they slide against the soft part just above his stomach below his chest. They’re cold, sure, but Tom doesn’t mind because they're Will’s.

“You- Will,” Tom starts, intending to say something, but he can’t quite remember what. Will’s preoccupied with assaulting Tom’s neck, evidently, because he doesn’t respond verbally. Instead, he adjusts his positioning so he’s on top of the younger man, his fingers digging softly into the flesh under Tom’s shirt.

“Tom,” Will pulls back, and Tom can really get a good look at him now, even in the darkness of the room. All previous nervousness had morphed into something else, the anxiety of Will’s previous expression gone. Tom licks his lips.

“I- um,” Tom swallows roughly. “Do you want to take off your shirt?”

“I can do that, yes.” Will nods rapidly, and pulls his hands out from Tom’s shirt, almost immediately starting on the buttons of his prim white dress shirt. Tom props himself up on his elbows, more than a bit eager to watch, even with the loss of contact. It’s not very conspicuous, but he hooks his leg’s around the older man’s waist. Will quirks a brow at him.

“What are you trying to do, silly boy?” He asks Tom, his nimble fingers undoing buttons at a quick pace. Tom gulps again, and half shrugs.

“Just, ah, taking in the view is all.”

Will snorts at that, before rolling his shirt off his shoulders, tossing it carelessly across the room. Tom’s hands grasp for him silently, and they find themselves pressed up against one another, jumbled hands roaming clumsily across bare skin.

Very insistently though, after a silent moment, Will begins tugging Tom’s shirt over his head, and Tom sits up with his arms over his head.

That was another layer of clothing shed.

“What do we do now,” Tom starts, wrapping his arm over Will’s shoulders. There was… an expectation here of some sort. Certainly not directly from either one of them, but- “Now that we’ve got our clothes off?”

Will pauses, and shifts in his spot between Tom’s legs. Those lovely hands of his began coasting across Tom’s torso again, and it took all the strength in the younger boy to hold back an embarrassing sound.

All they had done together was kiss, a tad heavily on occasion, and nothing more. It was never anything further, never anything without at least one article of clothing on. Tom hated to admit it, but he had never done anything further than that with a girl, let alone a boy. Although he was eager, more eager than he had ever been, really, he was also lost.

“Whatever you’d like to do.” Will replies softly, settling his hands against Tom’s hips. The way his thumbs graced over Tom’s implied hip bones sent a shiver down the younger man, one he couldn’t repress. Will leans in, and starts doing that thing to Tom’s neck again, which is unfairly nice.

“I just, um, you might want to- ah,” Tom starts, but he’s shut down rather quickly by a humble bite to his pulse point. His leg twitches. “I haven’t ever, um, done anything. With anyone. Before.”

Will nods against Tom’s throat, before pulling back. Tom laughs nervously, because Christ, that was probably the wrong thing to say. It was embarrassing, too, and he feels his ears go red. 

“That’s okay, I figured.” Will says, grazing his thumbs against Tom’s soft skin.The nervousness Tom had assumed dissipated rears it’s head again. “I um, I’ve done a bit before. We don’t have to do anything, if you don’t want to. No pressure.”

“No! I mean, no, I’d like to do… stuff with you, I just didn’t-” Tom coughs, “I didn’t want to disappoint you.”

The anxious wrinkles of Will’s brow disappear, and he smiles gently.

“No, you’re fine, Tom. I promise.” He comes in closer, and lays a tender kiss against Tom’s forehead. “What would you like?”

Tom half shrugs, half pushes his hips against Will’s hands. Those hands. He hated to admit it, even to himself sometimes, but he had thought about those hands so much. Against his face, cupping his cheeks, against his back, holding him close. Against his hips like they are now, caressing the skin. Against his-

“I want you to touch me,” Tom blurts, averting Will’s warm gaze as he licks his lips. There’s a beat of silence, before Tom looks back up. “Please.”

Will’s staring down at him with wide eyes, and Tom’s request must have taken a moment to sink in, because he nods in surprise.

“Yeah, that- that’s- I can do that, yeah.” He whispers, taking in a long, steady breath. 

Tom doesn’t really know what to expect now, because in truth, he never thought he'd get this far. He pushes himself up into Will’s hands again, and pulls him down by the shoulders, propping their foreheads together.

Will’s eyes look grey sometimes, Tom’s noticed. Their normal bright blue appearance only happens when there’s plenty of light to make them glow, like stained glass in a church window. They look grey right now, a color akin to silver. They’re terribly nice to look at.

“If you ever want to stop, you just have to say.” Will breathes, nose awkwardly bumping into Tom’s. He almost giggles, but the feeling of Will’s hands tugging down his boxers makes the laughter catch in his throat.

Will’s touches and movements are careful as he strips Tom, motioning to him to lift his hips up. Tom does, and he feels a bit like he can’t breath, but it’s no matter, because Christ-

The way Will looks at him makes him feel as if he could die on the spot right now, and it’d be such a heavenly way to die. He also supposes he’d die of embarrassment too, which is decidedly less than heavenly. He can’t ever recall being naked in front of another man like this.

It’s only another moment until Will tosses Tom’s pants across the room, leaning back on his heels. There’s a heavy bout of eye contact too, almost like a question is being asked through the silence.

Tom already decides he would like the answer to be yes.

Will’s hands start at Tom’s collar bones, fingers scraping gently down to his chest. There’s something hesitant and supremely careful in the way Will’s skin slides across his own. It isn’t unappreciative, though, because very soon a thin exhale exits the older man.

“You’re very sightly,” He whispers. Tom can see his eyes dragging over every inch of bare skin, and his face goes hot.

“Th- thank you.” Tom hisses as Will’s fingers trace across his stomach, and down to each thigh. It’s a struggle to not immediately cross them at such an alien feeling, but he manages. What he cannot manage, though, is the way his left thigh twitches. He licks his lips.

Will’s lip quirks slightly, into something reminiscent of a smug smile. He leans in then, much to Tom’s relief, and reconnects their lips.

There’s something less… intimidating when both their mouths are preoccupied, when there isn’t any space between them. It gives Tom enough leverage to climb back into his own thoughts again, to really take in what was going to happen.

At least, he would have the leverage if Will’s hand hadn’t slipped between his legs at that precise moment.

“Ah,” Tom releases a breath he didn’t know he was holding, an involuntary jerk of his hips up into WIll’s hand at the sudden contact.

“You’re hard,” Will murmurs, his free hand still clutching Tom’s thigh. Their mouths become far less chaste in action, which is only suitable for the mood, Tom thinks. He’d just hate if Will was boring in bed.

Tom moans at Will’s words, something he’s unsure if he should be embarrassed about. He feels terribly embarrassed as a whole, naked and writhing with his dick in another man’s grasp, but God he doesn’t want to quit.

A soft whine works itself from Tom as Will separates their mouths, but he’s pleased to find them against the part where his jaw meets his neck. The older man’s breath beats down against his skin as his hand begins to move, slow and precise in each movement.

It’s better than when Tom touches himself. Far better, unfairly so. Tom thought he could die earlier, sure, but he’d quickly retract that statement now. He’d only be happy with dying after he finished and made sure Will did too.

“Fuck, Will,” Tom realizes how foreign the blond’s name sounds from his mouth, how utterly muddled it sounds. He prays Will doesn’t mind as he scrambles a hand into his hair, fingers clumsily interspersed into the locks.

Will pauses, and Tom can almost swear there’s a frown against his lips. He squirms underneath the older boy uselessly.

“Too much?” Will asks, pulling back. Tom shakes his head in a frenzy, almost immediately pulling the man closer.

“NoohmyGodpleasedon’tstop,” Tom babbles, throwing a leg over Will’s back. Will stares incredulously down at him, before something akin to a grin morphs into his expression. He nods, and it’s in such a way that makes Tom’s face burn. 

Will resumes his pace, as well as his assault on Tom’s neck, down to where it meets his shoulder, and across the collar bones. Tom knows he should warn him not to leave a mark, he’d hate to be asked about it, but-

“Such an eager boy,” Will whispers, pulling part of Tom’s skin between his teeth. It’s just under his collarbone, so Tom’s allowing it, knowing how easily it’ll be hidden. “So eager for me.”

Tom’s amazed at the fact that he doesn’t finish into Will’s hand right then and there.

There’s something incomprehensible from him then- a string of exclamations, interspersed with Will’s name, and an uncountable amount of swears. He doubts Will will even bother to try and decipher it, because he seems damn busy with getting Tom off.

His grip in Will’s hair tightens, but he doesn’t push him away. If anything, he’s making a feeble attempt to pull him nearer. 

“Will,” Tom pants, and Will doesn’t say anything, simply quickening his hand against his member.  Tom whines terribly loud, and Will’s other hand, the one that was on his thigh, is soon covering his lips.

“Have to keep quiet, okay?” Will rasps, laying a tender kiss against the handsome bruise he had left along Tom’s collar. Tom nods against Will’s hand, and hesitantly, runs his tongue against the man’s palm. This time it’s Will’s turn to whine, albeit softly.

All at once, Tom finds Will’s fingers in his mouth. He doesn’t particularly know what to do with them, but Will’s ginger expression tell’s him he should. So he runs his tongue over them, closing his lips.

“Good boy, Tom,” Will says shakily. “That’s my good boy.”

Tom can’t help but to spill into Will’s hand with a muffled moan, his teeth digging in slightly into Will’s knuckles.

Another string of unintelligible words flow out of Tom then, this time stifled by Will’s fingers. They’re gently retracted after a moment, and Tom opens his eyes. He hadn’t even realized he had closed them.

“Are you alright?” Will asks, his tone far too polite sounding considering what had just gone on. He glances from Tom and down to his mess covered hand.

“Ah, fuck, yeah, fuckin’-a, Will.” Tom replies breathlessly, following Will’s gaze. Oh, fuck. “Just, ah, wipe your hand on the sheets, it’s fine.” 

“Okay, alright, er, good.” Will nods, licking his lips, and smears his hand against the messy sheets exposed at the side of Tom’s unmade bed. He winces, but his hand is finally clean.

Tom sits up, and reaches out for it.

“C’mere, I wanna kiss you,” He says, pulling Will closer. Will’s not unwilling, practically the opposite, really, and leans down to kiss Tom. Their fingers intertwine.

“Fuckin’-a?” Will asks, something undeniably related to laughter following soon after. If Tom didn’t feel so satisfied, he might have snapped something rude back, but he doesn’t. He knows a better way he could shut Will up.

Chapter Text

Tom exhales, before biting down on Will’s bottom lip roughly. Will squirms, his arm stuttering into a half bent position.

“‘S your turn, isn’t it?” He asks under his breath. Will’s breathing audibly quickens, and Tom prays that’s a good sign, because Jesus Christ, what else was there really left to do?

Gently, Tom’s snakes his free hand up the warm skin of Will’s back. The muscles are tensed, and Tom can’t help but feel a bit unsure of himself now.

The older boy pulls back with a soft nod, brows drawn tightly together. 

“There’s no pressure, you know that, right? To, um, reciprocate?” Will’s voice quavers in the middle, and Tom winces. Alright, so much for the plan of shutting him up. All that had changed from Tom’s offer was Will’s tone, switching from pleased and teasing, to something akin to nervousness.

Tom supposes that Will is just a nervous man in general, and that such a tone should be excused.

“No, I- I know. I want to. Reciprocate. To you.” Tom nods rapidly, propping himself up onto his elbows. He knows how terribly clumsy his admission sounded, and he winces.

“Okay, yeah. Yep.” Will replies quietly.  They both sit there for a moment, nodding at each other like fools.

Will is the first of them to laugh. Tom follows soon after, and it’s a wonderful thing parallel to earlier when they had gotten undressed. 

They fall pressed against each other again, forehead to forehead, gazing into each other’s blue eyes through the giggle.

“I do mean it, Will. I want to.” Tom says finally, after their laughter fades away. Will chews on his bottom lip, and Tom can feel the warmth of his mouth inches away from his.

“Whatever you want.” Will replies, hands slipping up to cup Tom’s jaw.

“You understand I’m absolutely gagging for you, right?” Tom snorts, pinching Will on the cheek. The older man snorts right back, pulling back slightly with an incredulous grin.

“If you say that again, I’m going to be the one gagging.” Will chuckles, gentle thumbs running against the underside of Tom’s cheekbones. “What do you want to do, Tom?”

“Um,” Tom starts, running his hands down along Will’s arms. “Give us a minute to think.”

There’s a moment of just looking at each other, and Tom thinks if it was with anyone else, he might hate the silence. It’s Will though, so he knows the silence isn’t from annoyance or frustration or anything like that. 

As they look at each other- Will’s thumbs against Tom’s soft cheek, Tom’s hands gripping the muscle of Will’s arm- Tom weighs out his options.

No pressure to do anything, like Will had said. All he had to do was really just let his mind wander, and then make it up. That was it. It’s so easy. He licks his lips, and moves his arms over Will’s shoulders, pulling him down. There’s no push back from the older man, and Tom’s thankful, because it gives him the opportunity to absolutely cover Will’s neck with kisses.

Will exhales heavily, adjusting his position over Tom slightly, his hands leaving the younger man’s face.  He stays close, though, so Tom guesses it’s a good reaction. He runs his tongue cautiously over the sensitive skin of Will’s throat, and then promptly bites down.

Will moans, evidently to both their surprise if the flustered gasp he gives afterwards is any indication. 

“What do you want to do?” Tom asks quietly, leaving a gentle kiss against the aggravated pinkness of where he placed his teeth. He hopes it doesn’t leave a mark. Will was thoughtful enough to at least go below the collarbone, Tom hadn’t even considered the consequence of his action.

That was no matter now, though.

“I, ah, fuck,” Will hisses, one of his hands clenched firmly against Tom’s shoulder. “I, just-”

Tom drags his tongue down Will’s neck experimentally, and oh, it works out, because there’s another soft, distracted noise from the back of Will’s throat.

“Tom,” Will’s voice sounds choked through the way he’s panting, and Tom pulls back. “I want your mouth on me.”

Tom always knew that he’d probably end up giving a man head sometime or another in his life, but fuck, he didn’t expect that day to come so soon. His silence as he thinks on this must be noticeable, because Will squirms underneath him.

“You- you don’t have to, I just-” Will starts, an anxious tone to his voice as his fingers flex against Tom’s skin. “I-”

“No! Er, I mean no, I-” Tom nods rapidly, staring up at Will. “I’d like to. I want to.”

Will’s jaw shuts with an audible clack, and he nods as well. “Okay.”

“Just gotta- just gotta tell me if I’m rubbish, yeah?” Tom asks, and fuck, is his face red. Okay, yeah, he could do this. No problem. He does want to, to… suck Will off. Christ, he couldn’t put into words how much he’d like to do that, now that the idea’s kicking around inside his head.

Will snorts, and pulls back off of Tom, sitting back onto his heels. Tom exhales lightly as those lovely fingers of his slip off of his shoulders, and he sits up, mirroring Will’s posture.

“You really don’t have to if you want, you can say no.” Will says again, his face looking redder than an heirloom tomato.

“Will, I want to. Promise. Pinky promise, even.” Tom holds out his hand into the space between them, all his fingers but the little one curled into a fist. Will exhales through his nose mirthfully, glancing down at Tom’s extended pinky before wrapping his own around it.

“If you’re sure,” The older boy says, shifting in position a bit.

“I am. Now switch places with me.”

“Yep, yeah.”

There’s a bit of fumbling between them as they move across the bed, quiet, good natured half laughs split between the two of them. As nervous- no, nervous sounded too negative- as jittery as Tom felt, eagerness still reigned atop the feeling. Giddiness sparks through every limb of his body, and as Tom sits between Will’s thighs, he says as such.

“I think I’m- I’m a bit anxious.” Tom says slowly, and Will opens his mouth, but Tom shushes him. “In a good way, it’s just, I’ve never done this before-”

“-I know-”

“-so give me a bit of grace if I’m shit, alright?”

Will nods slowly, and gently reaches for one of Tom’s hands.

“I will.” Will says, squeezing Tom’s fingers with his own. “Give me a bit of grace if I don’t last long?”

“Oh, fuck off, I just came into your hand in less than ten minutes, you’ll be fine.” Tom bites back with a soft smile, the crudeness of his words contrasting how joyous he felt. Even if nerves were sending his stomach into twists.

Will’s nose crinkles at that, but with the way his lips turn upwards, Tom guesses he isn’t all that offended at Tom’s choice of language.

“Plus it’ll be a compliment, won’t it?” He whispers, pulling Will’s hand to his lips. The older boy sighs in response, leaning his head back against the headboard.

Tom leaves their conversation at that, still holding his boyfriend’s- was that what they were, boyfriends? They haven’t really had that conversation yet- hand. Gingerly, he gets down onto his elbows between Will’s thighs, his free hand slipping up Will’s leg and up to the waistband of his boxers. He hesitantly fiddles with it slightly as he licks his lips, glancing up at Will.

The older boy looks like what Tom feels- a mixture of excited, anxious, and painfully aroused.

“C’mon now,” Will’s voice is still soft, faintly nervous, but it’s still firm. “Be a good lad.”

Oh, that does something completely unfair to Tom, and he feels his mouth fall open slightly. In an attempt to regain as much of his composure as possible, he shuts it, and nods slowly. Through all the thinking, Tom’s hardly notices his hand, the one Will isn’t holding, is trembling ever so slightly.

“Yeah, alright.”

Tom tugs at Will’s waistband, and the older boy’s hips shift upwards as his drawers are pulled out from underneath him. Again, more fumbling- they both seem to be very good at that- before Will’s only wearing the skin he was born with.

Tom can’t quite place why it feels so difficult to breathe. 

“If you need to stop, just say,” Will’s voice is at what sounds like the lowest octave he can manage, volume just barely above a whisper. Tom nods for what feels like the millionth time, his free hand shyly snaking up Will’s thigh. The older boy hisses through his teeth, and Tom licks his lips. Now or never.

Tentatively, Tom takes Will into his palm. It’s not as intimidating as it seems, really, it’s more or less like touching himself. Just on a different scale.

“Tom,” Tom glances up as Will grits his name, the hazy lighting peeking in through the window just enough to coat those wonderful features of his. “I don’t want to sound insistent, but, please. Please, Tom.”

There’s something so utterly raw in the way Will speaks his name, both those times. It’s so urgent, and needy, like if Tom doesn’t deliver, Will might just cease to be nothing.

The older man’s free hand, the one that's not gripping onto Tom’s for dear life, it slips delicately against Tom’s jaw. Tom can’t help but to clench the muscle, feeling the way Will’s palm scrapes against his skin.

Tom can just barely see the way Will’s brow is drawn, the way his chin is drawn up into the air blocking out part of his expression. The slivers of his eyes say a lot more than Tom thinks either of them could ever communicate, and he swallows, before parting his lips.

It’s a struggle not to be hesitant, Tom feels like it’s a waste, but- he’d just hate to bollocks this all up by going too quick. That’s why the first exposure to Tom’s mouth Will’s member gets is a slow, careful lick. It’s not a very grand gesture, but it’s evidently appreciated, if the way Will’s breathing hitches is any sign.

“That’s a good boy,” Will breathes, face obscured in the corners of Tom’s vision. “Very good boy.”

The way Will says that is going to kill him someday, Tom thinks.

In an attempt to clear his head, Tom squeezes Will’s hand, and Will squeezes back. The older man’s palm scrapes up against Tom’s cheek, the way his fingers slip into the brown locks atop Tom’s head featherlight in nature.

It’s only natural to take Will into his mouth then, careful lips slipping over the head of Will’s length. He’s incredibly conscious of teeth, because fuck, he’d haten to give Will a scrape, God forbid-

But he’s doing fine, especially if the painfully heavenly moan Will’s lets out is any cue.

Those fingers, previously benign in their touch, the curl deeply in Tom’s hair, pushing him down ever so lightly. Tom can take the hint, deliberately keeping the bob of his head slow so he doesn’t choke.

Will’s breaths come out in stilted, fragmented parts, and his grip in Tom’s hair only intensifies.

“Oh my God,” The older boy hisses, and Tom steals a glance up through his lashes. “You’re- fuck, Tom, I can’t even-”

Scrambling, Will’s hand releases Tom’s, and the younger boy hums in acknowledgement. It’s a bit hard, Tom thinks, to really give any sort of response with a cock in his mouth. Tom also thinks he’ll just have to get used to it, because fuck, seeing Will like this already stimulated some sort of addiction.

The hand Will pulls away, Tom finds, has been shoved knuckle first into his mouth, no doubt in an attempt to quiet himself. Idly, Tom makes note to remember that, because he certainly wasn’t all that concerned with volume earlier. 

Oh. The realization sinks in with a lovely air of smugness for Tom. He’s gone and shut Will up. His ego gets the best of him though, and soon enough Will’s yanking Tom’s mouth off of him, watching with concern as Tom coughs and sputters.

“Hey, hey, you alright?” Will coos, and it’s too damn sweet a way for him to be speaking when he was just saying Tom’s name in the most dishy way possible. After catching his breath, Tom nods, grinning a bit breathlessly.

“Told you I was gagging for you.” Tom  heaves out a strangled laugh, freeing both his hands from Will’s thighs as he catches his breath.

Will snorts at that, petting at Tom’s hair like he’s a horse that needs calming. Tom thinks he might laugh again if he didn’t find the gesture unfairly soothing.

“Shush, you.” Will says softly, his voice rife with nothing but kindness. “Do we need to stop?”

“No, no, shit, Fuck, ‘m not made of glass.” Tom replies quickly, wiping his chin with his wrist. He felt a bit silly, felt a bit, well… embarrassed. Then again, he had asked Will to give him grace if it was the most abhorrent blowjob ever performed. That twinge of anxiety in Tom’s gut returns, spitting up doubt laced bile into his head.

  “Do you want to stop?” Tom asks quietly, lip twitching. Will immediately shakes his head no, his sparse brows jumping higher than they could on a trampoline.

“No, I- Tom, you were doing fine, if that’s what you're asking.”  Will smiles, and his hand moves to Tom’s cheek, running his thumb along the bone. “Just fine.”

Tom nuzzles into the touch, and licks his lips. “Wanna keep going?”

“God, yes please.”

It’s easier then, to get back into the groove of what they had started. Nothing of note really happens, save for a couple of incredibly lovely moans from Will. Other than that, it’s already become routine in action, and Tom feels like a natural. Sure, it might be a funny thing to say out loud, but. He feels proud. Proud of himself for the way Will breathes his name, for the way he sends the usually put together man into a fit of incoherent curses and swears, proud of-

“Tom,” Will says, sounding particularly small. It draws Tom from his little ego stroking session, and he rakes his nails down the older man’s thigh.

Will lets out a strangled, utterly sinful sound at that, and he tugs gently at Tom’s hair. Tom gazes up at him, and pulls off, not to stop, but to strip a long, languid lick against Will’s member. Something akin to a sob, absolutely dripping in captivation escapes Will then. Tom, feeling like the cat that got the cream, returns his blood flushed lips around the older man’s length.

“I’m- ah, fuck, Tom- I’m so close-” Will groans, and Tom can hear his skull knock against the headboard as he gazes at the ceiling. “Fuck, you’re- you- you’re so good,”

Right, so. Tom knew that this was probably on the horizon, right? If he was going about having another man’s dick in his mouth, surely it was the point to bring that other man to climax? Tom knew what was going to happen, sure, but he didn’t- Well, he didn’t really know what to expect.

Determined, though, he quickens the bow of his head, brow knit in anticipation. Will sounds appreciative, shuddering breaths rocking out of him at an erratic pace. Really, shouldn’t be a matter of time before-

“OhmyGod-” Will’s voice goes nearly an octave higher than it’s normal pitch, and his fingers twitch rapidly in Tom’s hair. “Tom, I’m- Ffffuck-”

Tom doesn’t bother resisting as Will bucks into his mouth- the older man had been so careful not to the entire time, so Tom figures a bit of slack is in order to be cut. That’s evidently a good choice, to cut him some slack, because before Tom knows it, Will is spilling down his throat with a breathless, relieved sigh.

Tom really doesn't know how to react, really- everything's gone still, and he managed not to choke, and evidently Will's in heaven, so- mission accomplished, really. He feels rather chuffed with himself, and as he pulls his mouth off of Will's length, the older man expresses that he's pleased as well.

"God, Tom, I- you did wonderfully, I'm- yeah." Will expresses through his pants, his hand borderline pulsing in Tom's hair. Almost as if it's an afterthought, he lazily pulls it away, running it over his reddened face.

A hum in response is all Will gets as Tom sits back up on his heels, begrudgingly swallowing everything in his mouth. The younger boy wiggles his jaw slightly, thankful that a tender ache was the only leftover from the experience.

"Yeah? That was alright?" Tom asks quietly after a moment, feeling entirely spent. As Will tucks himself back into his boxers, Tom makes quick work of slipping up against the older boys side, curling up with his head on Will's shoulder.

"I said as such, right?" Will answers with a soft smile, adjusting himself slightly as to wrap his arms around Tom. Now this is just perfect, Tom thinks, now they can both just… relax. Lay with eachother. Exist. 

Tom sighs happily, slipping a hand up to caress the side of Will's throat. They were both incredibly sweaty, and would definitely need showers sometime. Idly, Tom wonders if they could get away with showering together, wonders what Will would even think of such an idea. 

There had been plenty of new things already tonight, though, so Tom holds back from asking, instead gazing up at Will's blissful expression. Will gazes right back, and for a long moment, they're just looking at eachother in silence. It's not uncomfortable, no, silence with Will hasn't been uncomfortable since that night where they confessed to eachother.

The lack of sound is aided by Will clearing his throat, before he starts to pet Tom's hair.

"I quite like you, you know." Will says simply, and Tom believes him.

The younger boy nods lazily, clumsily pulling the quilt of his bed over their bodies.

"I sure would hope so," Tom starts, "just had your dick in my mouth."

Will snorts at that, before making comfortable next to Tom, laying a kiss against the young boy's forehead.

"I need to leave, if I don't your mum and brother will see my truck in the drive way." Will points out, making absolutely no effort to get up or leave.

Tom thinks on that for a moment, before shrugging pathetically.

"I don't care, can just say you came over early for something."

"That something's you." The blond replies quickly. Tom grins, laying his ear against Will's chest.

"Only you and I know that, though."

Will makes a small sound of acknowledgement, and kisses Tom's forehead.

"Only you and I, Tom."

 

Chapter Text

The thing that wakes up Tom that blissfully silent morning is a loud knock at his bedroom door. He almost immediately sits straight up in bed, half pulling Will up along with him. Oh fuck, Will.

They both hadn’t bothered getting any clothes on last night before falling asleep with one another, and Will’s car was outside, so his mother and Joe would definitely suspect something-

The door swings open before Tom can even come up with an excuse for the knocker to keep out, and his eye’s lock with Joe’s as the doorway is filled with the older Blake’s frame.

“Mum wants to know- oh, fuck-” Joe starts. He’s still in his uniform, he must’ve only just gotten home from work, Tom guesses. Any feeling of tiredness the older Blake must’ve been feeling after a long shift is clearly thrown to the wind though, because Joe immediately bursts out laughing, pulling Will out of his half awake state.

It’s all happening so fast, Tom can’t even comprehend what's going on. As Will begins to stir beside him, Tom glances over, watching the haze of unconsciousness slip out of the blond’s expression. Those lovely blue eyes of his shoot open almost immediately as Joe speaks, and Will clumsily pulls the blanket over his chest. Tom might’ve laughed at that if the situation wasn’t so damn panic inducing, because c’mon, was modesty the most important thing to worry about right now?

“Oh my God, Tommy.” Joe stage whispers, glancing out down the hallway before stepping into the bedroom, closing the door behind him. “Are you fucking pulling my leg right now?” 

“Can you- can you fucking shut up?” Tom hisses, frantically glancing between his brother and his boyfriend. Boyfriend? Was that what him and Will were? They hadn’t really made it official, had they? Tom’s caught up in that thought, only jumping back out of his head and Joe obnoxiously throws himself at the end of the bed, sitting with his legs crossed.

“You funny little bastard, sneaking poor Will in here. Hi, Will, by the way.” Joe laughs in a way that makes Tom want to strangle him, all the while waving at Will. Will clears his throat, attempting a small, uncomfortable smile.

“Just- Um. Shit. Joe, don’t tell mum?” Tom asks softly, shifting awkwardly in place against the sheets. Tom prays that maybe, since his brother was so shocked at Will’s residence in his bed, that maybe his mother hadn’t seen his truck out front. “Please? I’m begging you?”

“Won’t tell her that you’ve gone and done-” Joe makes a vague gesture with his left hand, before snickering. “-but i came upstairs ‘cause she saw Will’s truck out front. Sorry mate.”

Tom raises both his eyebrows in a way that suggests he’s feeling something between utter misery and shock. Although, why should he feel shocked? They left Will’s truck right outside, right where everyone could see it. He gulps heavily.

“Right. Well,” Tom starts, glancing over at Will, before glancing back at Joe. Again, the smug, terribly amused look on his older brother’s face is damn near unbearable. “What do you reckon I do?”

Joe scoffs at that, and Will clears his throat again, rubbing the back of his neck. Tom bites the inside of his cheek, feeling quite the vulnerable fool. He’s sure Will feels worse though, considering the circumstances. It can be very nice to be ambushed in his lover’s bed, stuck in a position where it’s clear what happened, right? Tom chews the inside of his cheek harder, staring up at Joe for an answer.

“Well,” Joe starts, sighing with a particularly tickled expression, “Sneaking him out wouldn’t work, mum already knows he’s here. Suppose you bring him down for brekky then? How do you fancy that, Will?”

Joe almost immediately turns his gaze to Will, and the poor older boy looks as if he’s going to disintegrate into the mattress. Tom feels a pang of envy that Joe gets to play the older brother here, everything considering. If given the chance, Tom vows to humiliate Joe and Ellis the best he fucking can. It’s what the two of them deserve after this miserably embarrassing humiliation session.

“I suppose those are my options,” Tom begrudgingly sighs after a moment, running a hand through his hair. He can feel Will shifting against the bed besides him, no doubt uncomfortably. Tom can hardly imagine how he would react at this very moment. Much more aggravatingly, he supposes.

“You think mum’s going to be upset?”

Joe remains stagnant for a moment, pretending to pick at his fingernails. Tom notes the way he licks his lips, as he thinks of an answer. Unfair, really. Joe has no right to feel anxious right now, he’s not the one that just got caught in bed with his (maybe?) boyfriend.

“Think she might be a bit disappointed you didn’t tell her. Maybe a bit disappointed you snuck him in. I couldn’t tell you though, I’m not mum.” Joe finally answers after a stagnant pause, shrugging lightly. The answer does nothing for Tom’s nerves.

Tom licks his lips, just as Joe did a moment ago, and glances at Will. The older man’s face looks redder than a pickled beet, and he’s busy picking at the seam of Tom’s comforter. God, he must be wishing he was absolutely anywhere else in the world right now. A horrid pang of guilt rushed through Tom then, and he swallows thickly. Damage control is his responsibility now. It’s unfair to drag Will into that now.

“Disappointment is better than anger though, isn't it?” Tom asks after a long pause, crossing his arms. “She’ll just be upset with me, won’t she? Doubt her polite self will be cross with Will.”

“I hope not,” Will pipes up suddenly. Tom looks towards him with a nervous brow, licking his lips yet again. He can’t help the habit. “I don’t need my nan to know about this.”

Joe nods in a way that communicates understanding, but that expression of amusement reigns king over that. Tom feels as if he could smack the hell out of his older brother for such a smugness, but he’ll save that for later. He’d just hate to embarrass himself in front of Will.

“She’ll probably just give you a proper scolding after Will goes home,” Joe admits, finally analyzing Tom’s expression. It’s rather clear in his own that he’s starting to realize Tom’s abrasive temperament, and he stands. “Just bring him down. I’ll stay up until Mom goes to work, yeah?”

Tom nods lightly, looking over to Will for confirmation. The older man is still playing with the comforter seam, but after a beat of silence, he raises his head, returning Tom’s gaze. God help them.

“So long as I don’t end up in trouble,” Will says after an empty moment, nodding softly towards Tom. The younger boy nods, and turns his eyes toward his older brother.

“You’ll make sure, yeah?” Tom asks, and Joe nods. Despite his amusement at the situation, Tom’s sure that his brother is on his side. Despite how obnoxiously beguiled his brother could be, Tom trusts him not to throw them both under the bus. After all, he;s had to put up with Ellis’s obnoxious ass, he should absolutely be capable of this.

“I’ll make sure.” Joe reassures, nodding slowly before stalking towards the door. “Just make sure you both get some clothes on before you come downstairs, yeah?”

Tom and Will both stare at the comforter as the oldest boy leaves the room.