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The Education of Kyle

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Institutional beds are worse than the ones in hotels, and the blankets smell like dust, but Declan pushes his face into the pillow and pulls the starchy sheets up to his neck anyway.

So Lori has herself a college boy, so what? Maybe Wes has a shaved head and freaking huge hands and soft looking ski--so, Lori has a new guy. She's spending the night with some guy after Declan's turned down a prime piece of real estate because he'd driven up with her and Kyle. Because Kyle needed a free ride to UW and who happened to have the car and the excuse? He did.

A chunk of the thin pillow crumples in Declan's fist. He tugs sharply enough to hear threads tear. They weren't even supposed to be spending the night.

But fucking Kyle needs answers and somehow Declan's been dragged into his freaky life. 'Cause he has to be the good guy now.

Only Lori's the one doing the ditching these days. Lori's the one acting like a dog, not him, and it twists a sour knot inside of him, harder than he'd expected. Lori was—is--Lori. She's almost like a guy, not silly or vain like the bottle blondes he usually cruises. His maybe, or almost his, they had a…they have potential, and it's not like he's Charlie, or some shit like that. With Declan what you see is what you get, all or nothing.

Declan turns over onto his back, opens his eyes, and slams his skull into the headboard.

"Jesus! Kyle, what the fuck?"

One large, square hand is pressing lightly against the window pane, but it's like he hasn't even moved since Declan went to bed. What's so great outside anyway? The guy sleeps in a bathtub for God's sake; even dorm room beds must be an improvement. Then, Kyle turns from the window and the streetlight from outside cuts across his face.

His pale, laser eyes crinkle at the edges. He's smiling, a little confused but mostly curious and suddenly Declan has this image in his head. There's Kyle standing in front of him and then there's Kyle in a soft t-shirt and loose hanging pants, kneeling on the floor and opening his mouth, full red lips shiny with liquid and a pink tongue licking over pearly teeth.

Declan swallows and shakes his head but the image refuses to shrivel up and die like all wrong thoughts should. He feels all the blood rush just where he wan--doesn't want it to go.

He pushes up to a sitting position, gathering the blanket around his waist. Whatever, he's a teenager. Wind blowing the right direction gets his dick twitching. He's just, yeah, he's just remembering that blonde chick who'd attached herself to his neck at the party too. The one who smelled like Coors and giggled all the time. Not—not Kyle.

"What the…fuck?" Kyle's tongue curls around the last word, as if he's deciding how it tastes in his mouth.

"Yeah," Declan says, pressing the heels of his palms to his eyes. "Fuck. As in, the hell?"


Declan groans. He drops a hand to his lap, casually draping it, and rubs the back of his head with the other. He hears the rustle of fabric, soft footsteps, and cranes his neck back to look Kyle in the face.

"What does fuck have to do with hell?" Kyle asks.

No good can come of that question. And the worst thing is that he's actually curious, like it isn't completely fucked up that Kyle just doesn't…He's so smart, but it's like talking to a kid. All the knowledge just seems to stop, and then it just hovers, waiting for the next piece of information. This is why Lori always looks ten seconds away from snapping at Kyle.

He opens his mouth and Kyle leans forward, curling his lips up at the edges. He's always so—happy to know things, to learn. His thick, dark hair falls across his forehead. He never tans or burns. His skin is like whatever Grandma's china is made out of, smooth and…

"It's a figure of speech," Declan mutters.

He laces his fingers together, and Kyle moves forward, out of the street light. His face turns pale, dark at the mouth and eyes like a doll. He stops right at the edge of the bed. His knee presses against the side of the bed. Declan clenches his fingers and watches his knuckles start to whiten in the half-light, avoiding the sight of the dark pants stretching over Kyle's thigh. Fuck.

Lori really shouldn't have ditched him for that college guy.

"I've never heard it before," Kyle says.

"Yeah, well…"

Kyle licks his bottom lip. The tip of his tongue lingers in a corner of his mouth, and there's that image again but now Declan can see his own hand stretching out to Kyle's face, that mouth opening for him, and the bottle blonde on his other arm is putting a beer can into his palm. The can cracks open and foamy beer pours over Kyle's face.

And that's all she wrote. The image shrink-wraps around Kyle's frame, enveloping him until the half-wondering, always curious look in his eyes is…is maybe something else and it's nothing, Kyle must have been looking at the girl, had to have been watching the way her breasts pressed against Declan's chest. Declan pushes the blankets tight over his lap, drawing a knee up to hide his stiff dick. Heat curls in his belly. He takes a deep breath.

Lori. Think about Lori.


Out with her new friend.

Kyle draws back a little, unsure, and it's always like that when Kyle thinks he's done something wrong when he hasn't, and Declan owes him. For the thing with coach and for never mentioning it again. And, apparently, for never telling anyone that he let Declan pour a can of beer down his throat before being formally introduced.

"Is it a verb?"

"It's rude," he says, except that can't be his voice, all raspy and deep. "Don't tell your mom I said it."

Kyle frowns and Declan's dick pushes up against his wrist. It's exactly like hell, only the heat's pouring out from Declan's skin and not from some dude with a pitchfork.

"If it's rude, then why did you say it?"

Declan blinks. "Uh…"

"And what does it mean? If it's rude it has to mean something."

Kyle's hands bunch into fists at his sides. His lips thin. His eyebrows draw together, and for some reason Declan can't take his eyes off the little wrinkle of skin caught in the middle. Kyle hisses--really hisses--and lunges forward. He kneels on the bed--close enough that Declan has to scrunch out of the way--pushing the blankets askew.

"Nothing means nothing," Kyle insists. "There's always an answer, right?"

Oh man, Declan's not cut out for this philosophical stuff. Kyle leans closer, staring right into his eyes like he knows anything more than Kyle does.

"Yeah man, there's always an answer," he says through the sudden tightening of his throat.

Even if there's a twenty year old picture of a guy who could be Kyle's twin, locked in a cupboard. Even if Kyle can tell him the square root of two billion and one, but not what song his mother sang him to sleep. There have to be answers for Kyle.

He guesses starting here is as good a place as any in a world-standing-on-its-head sort of way.

"Right, so, fuck, it means--"

He lifts his hand, gesturing palm up into the air and Kyle's gaze drops to follow the movement, only he doesn't. His eyes look down, but then they just…stay. His lips part.

Declan freezes, hand outstretched, and follows the path of Kyle's stare.

There is no better time for the earth to swallow him whole than right now.

Kyle clears his throat. He makes a little humming noise deep in his throat that Declan's never heard before.

"That happened to me once," Kyle says. "At the pool. Amanda was lying on top of me."

Anytime, earth. Really.

Kyle frowns again, cocking his head. Declan covers his dick with both hands. The air siphons out of his mouth on a high laugh, and words tumble after it, falling over each other to push space in between Declan and the utter bastard who won't stop staring.

"Look man—Kyle—it's not what you think, I've been—I was sleeping! I've had a very hard—a very long—it's been an exciting day! And I'm tired. So I was sleeping. And having a dream! With girls in it--the dream I mean--lots of girls and—and Lori was there. Naked, well all the naked parts of her I can remember because we never really took off--"

Kyle's eyes flicker up to Declan's face, squinting a little. "Lori," he says. "You get—"

"Yes! Yes, I do. We do. I mean, not me and Lori, but guys do. All the time."

He feels a sickly grin creeping over his face, a nervous hiccup building in his chest, but his stupid dick isn't going down like it should. Instead, it's pushing up against his cupped hands, stiffening in time with the slow, dawning smile on Kyle's face.

Kyle leans closer and Declan attempts to meld with the headboard, but pushing back means pushing his hips up and that shouldn't feel so good in…unmixed company. He swallows. Jesus, he's getting hard in front of Lori's foster brother.

"Are erections something to do with 'fuck'?" Kyle asks.

If there were any breath left in Declan's body he'd use to it laugh himself to death. As it is, the invisible hand suddenly gripping his throat seems like it's making some headway.

"Yes," Declan manages. "Yes, they are. A pretty important part, actually."

Unless it's that porn Charlie has in his closet, then nobody seems to miss dick so much. But lesbians aside, this is no time—

"So that's why it's rude!" Kyle says. "Because you're not supposed to be with people when it happens."


Kyle sits back, and Declan most definitely does not miss the close up of Kyle's eyes staring straight into his. Kyle grins. His spine curls, shoulders slumping a little. He rubs a hand over his flat stomach.

Electricity crackles up Declan's spine. He shivers. This is bad on so many, many levels.

"Josh told me," Kyle says, "after everybody laughed at me at the pool, and Dad told me about how it's nothing to be ashamed of and to think of something awful--like grapefruit--so it would go away."


Lori's dad needs a refresher course on his birds and bees if that's his go-to answer. Fruit's never worked for him before, maybe Mr. Trager with a shotgun, or grizzly bears, but never fruit. Maybe it would work now. Declan concentrates on mangoes. His dick ignores him.

"But Josh said it helped to go away and read," Kyle says and draws his knee to his chest, looping an arm around his shin. "Did you bring a magazine?"

Declan frowns. He leans his head back and stares. Kyle has got to be kidding, but if he is, then it's the first joke he's ever made.

"Josh told you to go read?"

"Yes," Kyle says. "He even loaned me material."

"Josh. Your foster brother Josh told you to go and read a magazine."

Kyle's eyebrows begin to come together again. "It had very interesting pictures."

Declan clamps his jaw shut, rubbing a hand over the bristles of his hair. His mouth feels dry. Porn. Of course Josh would give Kyle porn.

"And he told you to…what to do with it?"

"I just told you he did."

Kyle bites his lip. He licks over the teeth marks and tilts his head, eyes flickering from Declan's lap to his face. Declan holds himself, motionless.

"I guess I should leave then," Kyle says, "so you can read."

He leans forward, placing his hands on the bed to push upright. Fine, good, getting Kyle off the bed is the best idea anyone's had all day, and that definitely isn't Declan's hand reaching out and tugging on Kyle's sleeve.

Clearly, Kyle's freakishness is contagious. He should have been paying attention to Josh's little reports.

Kyle's face clears, forehead smoothing out like Declan's—like someone has swiped his hand across the skin. He hates leaving, Declan remembers. He always looks like if he leaves, he might never come back. It makes it hard to walk away from Kyle.

The blanket slides the rest of the way off Declan's leg when Kyle resettles on the bed, right ankle tucked under his left leg, and now his thigh is touching Declan's shin. Kyle's pants are cotton, thin enough that their body heat bleeds together.

"Does it really work?" Kyle asks. "Because when I found Amanda in my room, she didn't seem to like it and when I read it, it didn't seem to help."

"Um, it's not really a chick thing," Declan says.

He sucks in a breath and blows it out again. Kyle's t-shirt is silky between his fingers. His knuckles brush the tight skin of Kyle's bicep, warm and hard with muscle. Kyle doesn't seem to mind.

"Oh," he says. "Because this only happens to guys."

"Right, exactly," Declan says, resisting the urge to press his knuckles deeper into that bit of skin.

"But when I read the magazine, my erection--"

Declan flinches. He catches himself caressing his dick with his palm and forces his hand to stop moving.

"—didn't go away."

They are not having this conversation. This is like a train wreck. He can't let go of the stupid shirt, Kyle's got some fucked up sex talk from Josh of all people, and Declan's dick is knocking against his palm like it doesn't want to be forgotten. Why can't he have normal college visits?

"Well, maybe you're just not doing it right," he says, looking past Kyle's shoulder to the window.

"Is there some special way to read I don't know about?"

Not for the first time today, Kyle's voice rumbles with frustration. He moves his arm and Declan's hand lets go of Kyle's sleeve. His fingers are cold. Declan turns back to look Kyle in the face.

"Special. You mean you just read it?"

"Isn't that what you're supposed to do?"

A car drives past beneath the window. Declan can hear the crunch of gravel beneath tires. He watches Kyle's long fingers dig at the fabric covering his knee. A loose thread snaps.

"Fuck man, don't you even know how to jerk off?"

The minute he says it, Declan wants to take it back. Kyle's shoulders hunch, ropey with muscle. He lunges forward and Declan brings his hand up in time to collide with Kyle's chest. Kyle's arms slam into the headboard. He shakes it and the cheap, fake wood smacks Declan in the back.

"No!" he yells. "No, I don't! I don't know anything! I don't even know what that means. And I'm supposed to, aren't I?"

He pauses, swallowing heavily, and shoves at the headboard again. His heartbeat hammers against Declan's palm. The air heats between them. He's fucking straddling Declan's legs, almost in his damn lap. The tip of his nose brushes Declan's cheek, a puff of hot air across the skin.

"There's all this stuff I'm already supposed to have figured out," he says, "and people following me around and pictures of people who look like me and I don't know why."

He shakes his head on the last word, drawing in a shaky breath and exhaling down Declan's neck. Declan has the strangest urge to put his arm around Kyle's back, like he was a chick or something. Instead, he closes his eyes and pushes his hand up Kyle's chest to his shoulder. He digs his fingers into the tense muscle. The pattern of Kyle's breathing changes.

"I want to remember," Kyle says. "I just…I'm so tired of this."

Everything Kyle knows people have had to show him. He's had to make them show him, and it's just fucked that Kyle needs that. That he doesn't even know where to start.

Declan does, if he can be a good enough friend to go through with it.

"I know," he says. "Kyle. Kyle, look down."

Kyle moves back, eyes on Declan's lap. Declan takes his hand off his dick and flexes his fingers on his thigh. His little finger brushes Kyle's leg. It's just for Kyle, that's all. It's…educational, like sex ed. class.

"You don't tell anybody about this, you got that?" Declan insists. "Not anyone."



Kyle tries to look up and Declan tightens his grip on Kyle's shoulder.

"Don't look up. Just keep watching. This—this is a private thing. Nobody else needs to know."

Declan hooks his free hand in his waistband and wiggles his boxers down his hips. His dick pops out, half-hard from neglect. He wraps his hand around the shaft and rubs his thumb at the head. He feels himself blush, red blooming all the way down to his chest. His dick twitches as he pumps, growing beneath the clutch of his fingers. He shudders and Kyle—

"I said not to look up!" Declan snaps. "Your job is to—to watch me. Watch what I do."

"What are you doing?" Kyle asks.

He can't help it. A laugh breaks free of his mouth, loud in the too small space between their bodies. Kyle tenses. He tries to pull away, but Declan holds on to his shoulder until he stops.

"Sorry," Declan says. "Look, I'm jerking off. First, you have to…"

His mouth dries out, words crumbling to dust in his throat. It's not every day whacking off gets a running commentary. His blood begins to bubble. Kyle's just staring at his hand, at his hard dick. Liquid drips over his fingers. All Declan can see is the dark hair on Kyle's head, the arch of his spine, and the bunched muscles in Kyle's arms to either side of his head.

"You have to hold yourself?" Kyle asks quietly, head bowed.

"Yeah," Declan says. "You hold yourself, tight so that you can feel it. Then, you um, you rub. Like this."

He moves his hand up and down, gathering fluid at the head and dragging the liquid back until his palm is coated in the stuff. Heat coils in his belly, flaring along his dick. It jumps in his hand, ready to rock and roll. He lets his mouth drop open, breathing deep through his nose. He smells shampoo, clean soap. It must be Kyle. He can smell Kyle. He can breathe Kyle in.

Teaching, he's supposed to be teaching.

"It gets easier. There's…precome, it makes it easier to move your hand," he says, lowering his voice. "There're places you can touch."

He can do this. He lifts his dick up, traces the big vein on the underside and pushes into his circumcision scar. A little moan escapes him, sliding through the air to slam into Kyle, who quivers like he's been shocked by current. His arms flex every time Declan's fingers circle the head of his cock.

"What does…what is this for?" he asks.

Declan shakes his head, blinking his vision into focus. "It feels good," he says. "That's why we do it."

He rubs a little faster, getting his rhythm, and finding it in the rise and fall of Kyle's back. His spine arches with every breath, and it's almost like Kyle's moving in tune with Declan's movements.

Declan's hips buck, rocking him up a little into Kyle and--Kyle. Kyle's hard. He can't see it, but he can feel it against his leg.

Declan's head falls back. His hand drags up his dick, clutching tighter. He groans and fucks up into his fist; nudging Kyle's hard on with his knee. Kyle makes a noise, wondering and so… Sweat blooms along Declan's skin.

Kyle's hips inch downwards, an awkward little hitch and Declan shakes his head.

"Stop," he pants. "Don't move. Just watch. Just watch me."

His hand keeps pumping, hips working up into the hidden space between their bodies. Kyle's arms bend, bringing him close enough that his hair tickles the side of Declan's face. Declan closes his eyes and breathes deeply.

His forehead is on Declan's shoulder. He's keeping still, studying every trick Declan's learned to bring himself off, so he can do it to himself. Declan whimpers, low in his throat and plans on being embarrassed about that later.

Not that he's going to think about this later, but right now Kyle's body is covering him, enclosing them both in some weird little corner of the world where this is the right thing. Right now, this is okay; it's just Declan touching himself. Kyle needs people to show him the ropes, and tonight's Declan's turn.

"Can you go faster?" Kyle whispers. "Or do you have to maintain an even pace?"

"Yes," Declan hisses. "You can go faster…or harder. You do what—what feels, oh God, what you like. It's all for you."

Kyle asked, so Declan shows him. He moves his hand faster, tightening his grip until his dick is burning in his palm. His hips twist, striving for every last little bit of sensation. He can feel Kyle's cock against his leg with every up-stroke. Kyle's forehead digs into his shoulder, hot skin on hot skin and thank God Declan wore a tank top because his clothes would have burst into flames otherwise.

A noise breaks through the whitening haze of his vision, low and continuous. He shakes his head, blinks his eyes clear, and concentrates.

It's Kyle. He's moaning quietly to himself. His arms are quaking, back arching high with every breath, and it's stupid. Declan's being stupid, because he's not—this is about showing Kyle, but he turns his face into the side of Kyle's head and breathes in the sweat and the soap. Maybe his lips brush the shell of Kyle's ear, maybe the soft, soft skin beneath his ear.

"Copy me," he says. "Prac—practical demonstration."

Kyle's right arm whips between their bodies and Declan still can't see between them, but he can see Kyle's shoulder start to pump. Kyle shudders and his forehead bears down on Declan's shoulder, slides right into the side of his neck. His hips jerks forward and his knees slide forward on the crumpled blankets. The bony caps dig into Declan's thighs.

He's working it now, riding his hand just like Declan is showing him. He's got his cock in his hand, red and thick, and he's probably doing it exactly how Declan began, getting the feel of it and holding the weight in his hand. Declan moans, presses his fingers right over the head of his dick and maybe--of course--Kyle's doing the same thing right now.

Their fingers brush. He feels something hot and wet touch his dick, and his hips arc. The back of his head smacks into the wall and he's coming, spurting over his hand and onto his stomach. He groans and Kyle's face presses into his chest. He can feel Kyle's mouth moving over his skin, can see the pump of Kyle's hips, and then wet strings hit his messy belly. He shudders and Kyle copies him, then slumps to the side of their not very large bed.

Declan feels loose limbed and cold. He's got…stuff cooling on his chest and Kyle's hot breath on his hip. He closes his eyes and leans his head on the wall. Another car drives under their window.

Slim fingers brush Declan's elbow. Declan shivers and the fingers retreat. He takes a deep breath, fighting back the urge to slide down to the mattress and sleep. He can't sleep in the same bed as Kyle.

"So that's jerking off?" Kyle asks.

"Uh huh," he says.

"And people can do this whenever they want?"

Declan chuckles. He has to, there's no other way to respond to the…the awe in Kyle's voice.

A hand touches his stomach. He looks down and sees Kyle's fingers dragging through the spunk. Declan rolls off the bed, landing on his feet. He strips off his wifebeater and shoves it in his pants pocket, turning away from Kyle's stare. The tissue box is on the bookshelf.

"Don't do that," he says. "It's not safe."

Kyle yawns. "What do you mean?"

A cord loosens in Declan's chest right as another rope tightens around his stomach. He wants to get back in bed. He wants to go home.

The tissue clumps in his hand, soggy and sticking on his chest. Declan grabs another handful for himself and then launches the box over his shoulder in the general direction of the bed. He hears a soft grunt and then movement behind him.

"Clean up," he says.

"Okay. It's sort of salty, huh?'

The room blurs as Declan spins around, dropping tissues in his wake. His vision wavers and snaps into sharp focus on the bed.

Kyle is on his back, propped up on one elbow. His index finger is between his lips, the back of his hand dotted with his—with their—

"Stop that," Declan says.

He can see Kyle's dick, the smear of come at the slit. The waistband of his pants outlines the arrow of muscle at his hipbones. His t-shirt is wrecked.

"Stop that," he repeats.

Kyle looks confused again, but he pulls his finger out of his mouth. He licks his lips. He sits up the rest of the way, taking out tissues and wiping his hand and—and his cock. There's a little on his stomach that Declan doesn't tell him about. It stays there, a drying half-circle near where Kyle's belly button should have been.

He moves towards the bed, stopping at the edge of the mattress. Kyle smiles up at him, a bit loopy, and Declan feels his own mouth twitch upwards in response, but a yawn quickly pries open his jaw.

Kyle scoots over and throws his legs over the side of the bed. Declan tosses the last clump of tissues at the bedside trash.

"Three points," Kyle says, looking over his shoulder.

He's still smiling, on the bed with his pants undone, looking like he's uncovered a mystery and Declan put that look on his face. The cord, the loose one in Declan's chest, wraps itself around his lungs and squeezes. He sits down on the end of the bed and puts his wifebeater back on.

He hears Kyle stand behind him, the sound of a zipper refastening. He lies down and his eyes follow Kyle back to the window. The bed smells like them.

"We have a secret now," Kyle says.

The street light is hitting him across the face again, highlighting the flush on his cheekbones. His Adam's apple bobs. Declan's throat constricts. He nods. He throws the blanket back over his legs.

"Friends have secrets," Kyle continues.

Declan slides down onto his back, matching Kyle's stare. "Yeah," he says. "They do."

When Kyle turns away, Declan pulls the covers over his head, suddenly cold. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.