Authors: TB and Marsh
Rating: R
Pairings: 3x6, 3xOC, long-past 3x4

Age Inappropriate (cont)

"If you don't mind," Quatre said, "if he gets tired or if he drinks, just let him stay at yours? He's quiet enough."

That gave him pause, in the middle of putting on his coat. Then somehow his hand got stuck in the sleeve, and he had to start over. "Uh, sure. Luce won't mind her little baby boy staying in some crummy hotel with me?"

"Of course she will, but it's still better than having him try to sneak in at three in the morning."

"I'll take care of him." Promises. He'd forgotten that-- Quatre had a way of sucking you into that world, where every word was loaded with actual meaning. He'd have to get back into the habit of watching himself.

Instead of watching Kaelin, maybe, even if Kaelin was making a point of watching back.

I feel distinctly fucked, Trowa thought, and struggled to keep his smile in place. "Am I going to need earplugs?"

Quatre laughed. "It's the most atonal noise you've ever heard, but I actually sort of like it. Pretentious as all hell, though."

"Compared to what? Opera, perhaps?" Quatre moved his foot from the door, and it swung closed, leaving them alone in a hall with just the twelve-foot ceilings for company. "Nice looking kid. He takes after you."

"Everyone says so. He's a good boy. He's talking about a year of travel instead of university. I haven't figured out yet if I'm supposed to agree or try to coax him along to school."

"Let him have his year. You'd've killed for a little freedom at that age."

There was a lot they'd killed for, at that age. It was there, just a ghost of it, in Quatre's upturned smile. Another thing he'd forgotten, almost. Nearly.

Quatre said, "You know, he doesn't rebel. Not much. He tries so hard. I almost wish, for his sake, that he would."

"He will. Then you'll eat those words."

White teeth showed in a grin. "You're probably right."

"Yep." It was a night for memories; so it took a certain amount of effort not to lean in and kiss, the way his body wanted to. That part of them had been over for a very long time. But he could touch, a little at least, without too much danger, so he let his thumb go venturing from Quat's shoulder to his neck over the collar of his shirt. Quat breathed in deep, once, and let it out through his nose. Trowa put his hands in his pockets after that.

"I should get going before the boss comes home."

"Thanks, about the concert. Sorry to put you on the spot. I was just thinking how much he always loved going out with you, when he was little. You really were the 'cool' uncle."

He shrugged that away. "He's a good kid. I'll enjoy it."


Kaelin lied about the smoking. He was one foot off the tram before he had the pack in hand, carelessly blocking other passengers as he bent over a silver lighter.

"I thought that was Jamie's vice," Trowa said.

"It's spreading." Kaelin offered the pack. Trowa shook his head. "Are you going to be a stick in the mud?"

"I'm not your dad." He stuck his hands into his coat pockets. Their destination was as simple as following the packs of wild teenagers roaming up the street in artistically torn denims and hundred-dollar haircuts. The colonies had changed. Even the last time he'd been here there'd still been cops on every corner, bars over windows. Even downtown there wasn't any of that anymore.

"Like my dad cares. You heard him." Kaelin handed him a ticket. "Do you like music?"

"Yeah. I do."

"Mom says you play the flute."

"Used to. I haven't in a long time."

"I play flute."

"Yeah?" That surprised him, somehow. It surprised him too that Noin would even be talking about him to the kid. It wasn't like they got along. "Why the flute?" he asked.

Kaelin smirked at him without so much as changing expression. "Why do you think?"

He settled for a little deliberate stupidity. "Couldn't say, Kaelin."

The boy rolled his eyes. "Do you dance?"

The constant stream of dialogue was going to wear him down eventually. He wasn't entirely sure what Kaelin thought he was getting out of it, but he couldn't politely ignore everything. "Occasionally," he admitted. The 'concert' was obviously not orchestral. Their street was turning into a long line of bars and clubs, most of them seedy, and all of them full of loitering teenagers in fashionable shab. He wondered if Quatre had sent him along as a chaperon, after all.

He stopped Kaelin from lighting a new cigarette with the butt of the old one by plucking both out of his hand. "This is a shitty habit. Tastes bad." He fended off a weak grab and put the stick to his lips. Menthol. It figured. He took one shallow puff and crushed the cigarette under his heel. "I told you I'm not your father."

Kaelin looked irritated, but he didn't protest. He swiped his thumb over his lips, and took the lead.

The silence between them held all the way to their destination. They waited, close enough to be together and far enough to be apart, through the queue, presented their IDs. The bouncer rubbed two thick marker Xs on Kaelin's hands. The black ink stood out like a tattoo on his pale skin.

The music was everything Quatre had said-- loud, without much else to recommend it. And it was fairly pretentious, the bits he could catch through the screech of electric guitar and synthesiser, sung by raspy voices at least as old as Trowa's, although the band on the stage were dressed like their audience. The bass was throbbing and uncreative, but it was danceable, and that seemed to be the only real requirement. The milling crowd wasn't paying much attention to the band. A few girls in breastbands and blacklight paint danced on little platforms with glowsticks and hand torches, but even they looked like their minds were elsewhere. About what he'd expected. Not much possibility for conversation, which could be good. And bad.  Good because he wasn't sure yet what he was willing to share with Kaelin, or what would be safe to; and bad for the same reason.

Kaelin grabbed him by the wrist and hauled him through the crowd toward the stage. They stopped several times to greet other students. Introductions were kept informal-- first names only. Trowa was fine with it, mostly, but the fourth time it happened, it seemed to call for a cautioning comment.

He said, "I'm not your boyfriend, Kaelin. And it's not a good idea to tell them that I am."

It was too dark and smoky to see much of Kaelin's face. "Did you hear me tell anyone you are? Don't be a paranoia pill."

"I'm not stupid."

"Then don't ask stupid questions. Do you really dance?"

He cocked his head, but it didn't improve the angle enough. The kid had been pushing since they laid eyes on each other in Quat's study.  It was getting a little damn old. He was getting tired of trying to keep ahead of it. The better part of valour wasn't his usual MO, and pushing back was usually more effective anyway-- not to mention it usually felt a hell of a lot better.

He leaned in to say it, just to be sure Kaelin heard him. His lips brushed Kaelin's ear. He said, "I guess you'll have to dance with me to find out."

He didn't imagine Kaelin's sharp inhale.

He had all of five seconds to enjoy his triumph. Kaelin struck back fast and hard. He rocked back a step, and his hands fell to the hem of his jumper. It traveled a slow path up his long torso, caught at his chin, disarranged his carefully brushed hair. He wore just a sleeveless vest under it, slim warm brown against his lithe arms. The vest left a strip of bright skin bare to the blacklights, like a white beacon straight to his hips.

Oh, two could play that. If Kaelin wanted a contest of one-ups, Trowa could give it. He was even in the act of reaching for his own sweater, when a glimmer of sense reasserted itself. Kaelin could afford to be stupid, at seventeen. Trowa was thirty-four, and plenty old enough to be smarter than to issue that kind of invitation. Of course Kaelin would see it as an invitation. The whole night was an invitation. Fucking Quatre and his great ideas. This was going to be hell.

And that was before he reckoned with the dancing.

Kaelin was bolder with the success of the little jumper stunt. Smug. The crowd was thick near the stage, forcing them to stand close enough to smell each other sweat. There was touching.  The occasional, not-so-accidental graze of hip against groin, hand across ass, and as the music went on the touches became less coy and more deliberate. By the fourth song Kaelin's hand hovered just off Trowa's hip. By the fifth, Trowa had his hands on Kaelin's, his thumbs under the vest on bare skin. It was just dancing.

He wasn't really naïve enough to believe that, or stupid enough to throw caution entirely to the wind-- but.

Kaelin turned his back to Trowa, eyes closed, hair damp with the exercise, reached back to hold his neck with slipping fingers. His shoulders brushed Trowa's chest as he swayed to the beat. Trowa caught himself palming a taut stomach, and the bottom dropped out of his own gut. If they hadn't already passed the point of no return, they were... getting awfully close to it.

He moved a half-step back, just enough to put air between their bodies. He didn't stop dancing, and he was fairly sure he did it smoothly. But Kaelin was stiff after that, as if he'd figured out the rejection anyway. Not much later he disappeared to dance with a friend, and left Trowa alone going deaf from the speakers.

Which was something of a relief. He belonged with those other kids, not Trowa.

Doing the right thing shouldn't have felt so shitty.


Half the tram got off at the edge of town. Kaelin left the seat in front of Trowa and took the one next to him, instead. They lost a group of kids from the concert at the edge of Zone 2, and then they were out in the residential part of the colony. No-one new got on, and the few who were left were quiet, reading books or asleep to the world except for an iPod in their ears. Trowa was tired, bodily; in that quiet clear place, mentally, after a big energetic night, enjoying the dim, pleasant even in the minor aches of sore knees and the hard plastic seat cutting off blood to his ass. There were worse ways to end a long night.

"You still smell like cigarettes," he said, just to watch Kaelin's head come turning toward him. The gentle back-and-forth rock of the tram on the tracks was lulling. "You bring clean clothes for tomorrow?"

"I always do." His lips weren't-- not stupidly full, not feminine, but unusual enough. Perfect for his face, for the intense eyes that sat over them, the perfectly straight nose. His eyes were pure Quatre, though, pure genetic replica, down to the ring of black at the edge of the blue iris. There was a hint of a dimple in his left cheek, too, just like Quat; but Quat smiled, and he hadn't seen Kaelin do that, not since he was ten. Maybe not even then.

He turned his eyes forward.

"Are you sleepy?" Kaelin said. "We could watch a show or a movie."

"Probably not." He wasn't sleepy, actually, but the prospect of snuggling down on the tiny hotel couch with the kid didn't appeal. Or rather, did. He didn't have Quatre's finely tuned sense of morality, but he knew a bad idea when he saw one coming. Snuggling had 'bad idea' written all over it.

"So where am I going to sleep?"

"The thing pulls out."

"I'll wake up with springs sticking out of my ass."

"You could go home. Mattresses made of goose down and rose petals in plenty, there."

The black guy in front of them reached up for the pull and signaled for the next stop. The tram slowed to the end of the tunnel.

"Did you drink too much?"

"I had two beers," Trowa retorted. "And they were equal parts water and piss. Assuming there was any alcohol in them at all, I still think I'm safe."

"So you're not buzzed."

"No." Sliding stop. The guy was out the doors before they were all the way open. The platform was empty, the car was empty except them. In movies, this was when the slasher usually struck with the chainsaw.

Or when the good porn started. Kaelin moved his hand from his own lap to the edge of Trowa's seat. Then he put it on Trowa's leg.

They were five fucking minutes from their own stop. Five minutes and they could have been walking, on separate pieces of pavement, entirely safe. Away from the security cameras mounted directly across from them, at the very damn least.

Kaelin was watching him with those pale, knowing eyes, and when Trowa failed to protest his fingers slid gently for Trowa's in-seam.

"You want something to eat?" he asked, last ditch effort to ignore it out of existence, right as Kaelin found his dick under his pants and pressed it into his thigh with his palm.

"Depends on what you're offering."

That should have been laughable. A teenager's attempt at seduction, subtle as a bag of bricks to the skull. But the silence in the tram was charged and buzzing. There was very, very little space between their shoulders, their hips, their knees. Kaelin knew plenty about things he shouldn't have. Trowa kept his eyes open by force of will at the wave of sensation from his crotch.

"I don't think this is what your dad had in mind for tonight," he said evenly. "I think you should go home."

That, finally, was effective. Kaelin moved his hand away.

"Your dad," Trowa repeated, because that was the part he thought had probably done for it. "He trusts us both. I'd rather not destroy his world-view--"

"You're hard."

Observant little shit. Trowa fisted his hands in his pockets. "Yeah."

"What exactly is wrong with me then?"

"Aside from the fact that you're my best friend's kid and half my age?"

"You were gone for seven years with only two letters, so how close are you really?"

"Would it shock you to learn there's more history here than the last week, and more people involved in this than you and your cock?" Finally, fucking finally, they hit his stop. He got to his feet just to be standing away from Kaelin, leaned on the handline over the doors. He was, damn it, hard, plenty hard that walking six blocks to his hotel was going to suck big.

"I know." Kaelin was at his back, too bold, too persistent.

"Then maybe you can pretend to understand why I--"

"I know about you and my dad."

When, and who? The tram stopped moving, and Trowa was out the doors even if he had to squeeze through alone. He clattered up the stairwell out of the tunnel fast enough that his balance was at risk, hands hampered in his jacket, but Kaelin kept even with him, a step behind.

"I don't--"

"And you're going to tell me you don't care," Trowa overrode him. "This isn't about me and your dad. Or you and your dad. It's about you and me."

Kaelin laughed. Not nicely. It rebounded off the walls around them, bitter echoes. "Do you have any idea what it's like to have a father like Quatre Winner?"

"I can guess."

"I doubt it."

"We're friends. That means I get to see his shitty side as well as his good one."


"Damn it, Kaelin. I don't care."

Kaelin went quiet and pissed, at that. It made for two entire blocks of him silently trailing Trowa's footsteps, time Trowa took to enjoy a brief version of his youthful existential crises. The source was even the same.

What did he really owe Quatre? His life? His loyalty? The idea bugged the shit out of him. But wasn't it at least a little wrong to even consider fucking your ex's kid? Especially when it was your best friend, who would be well within reason to come after Trowa with a boning knife for so much as imagining the scenario.

Not that he had much imagination. He kept failing to predict Kaelin. The grab to the back of his coat caught him completely unaware. Kaelin wrenched him to a stop and got within centimetres of kissing him.

Trowa held him off with both hands locked on his shoulders. "Not here, kid."

"Here or anywhere?" Kaelin shot back.

"Not. Here."

Kaelin subsided, but he stuck on Trowa like white on rice for the rest of the walk. Now he was giving serious consideration to making a run for it, and hoping he was faster than a teenager who didn't work out regularly. He didn't come up with a coherent plan, though, before they were trudging through the gravel to Trowa's hotel. He swiped the key through the lock with an ironic sense of hovering doom, and opened the door.

"Wow," Kaelin said. "This place is kind of a dump."

"Maybe compared to the Winner manse." He tossed his jacket onto the table by the window. It wasn't particularly bad, for the purpose it was meant to serve-- a little kitchenette, a large king bed, comfortable couches and plenty of chairs. It was a businessman's travel suite, the kind of place he was used to living in. Practical. Impersonal.

The kid was right. He needed to find an apartment.


"You want a beer? Sink water is tolerable."

"I want you."

Out in the open.

And damn if it didn't make him smile, at that-- the kid didn't lack for guts. Not a little thing, the size of the risk, being that open with yourself, with someone who was bound to put you off. Or tell your parents. He could appreciate it.

He just didn't want to be so tempted by it.

"Couch is there," he said. "There's blankets in the closet there."

They were getting back to that point of no return again. Running for it full speed.

Did it matter so much that this was the crown prince of the Winner kingdom? Or that Kaelin was half his age and not getting any older just because that would make it suck less. They'd spent the entire evening on the foreplay, and the prospect of a long night with a sullen would-be lover and a case of blue balls was more than he could take.

More than he could take, and if Quatre couldn't accept that excuse, fuck him anyway.

Fuck it, anyway. He turned-- Kaelin was right behind, close enough that he had to rear back or get hit-- until Trowa pulled him in close again. His neck was warm under Trowa's hand, his pulse hammering hard and fast. Trowa opened his mouth to speak, and didn't get out a word before Kaelin was there, too. Their mouths mashed together, hard enough for teeth to click, to sting. Luscious lips, exactly like they looked. Trowa sucked at them, bit them, forced them wider with his tongue. Kaelin's hips were enticingly small under his hands, but firm, as if the fragility were just imaginary. Hard to know, exactly, what was imaginary at all-- there was plenty of practise in the way Kaelin kissed, plenty of experience, but there was still an-- endearing sort of-- excited tentativeness. He didn't bend until Trowa forced him to, and when he did his fists went tight in Trowa's shirt in fear.

The drywall shuddered when he pushed Kaelin into it. Kaelin shuddered. Trowa ripped at his belt until it opened, shoved at his trousers until the zip cracked open. He pulled Kaelin's head down by the hair to lick at his neck, long swipes before he closed his teeth on tender skin. "Like this?" he murmured. "You can expect more of it, if we do this."

"It's great. It's hot." The kid made an effort to touch him back. Trowa grabbed his wrist and pinned it to the wall, knocking one of the cheap paintings askew.

"Do you have any idea what you want, Kaelin?"

The other hand went around to his ass. No-- into his back pocket. Kaelin took his wallet, fumbled through it crushed against Trowa's hip. It dropped to the floor with a leathery fwap. Kaelin brought his fingers up between their faces, and brushed Trowa's lips with the serrated edge of a condom wrapper.

Any thoughts he'd had about controlling where this went vanished to the thinnest vain thread. "Kaelin."

"How long have you been carrying this, waiting for the opportunity to use it?"

"I am not a romantic, Kaelin." He moved the condom away from his mouth. "Do you understand me?"

"Was I under the impression that you were?" They breathed on the same beat, for a moment. Then Kaelin broke open the wrapper with his teeth, and unzipped him to roll it on.

It might have been just bravado, but it dealt a handy death blow to the last of Trowa's resistance.

The bed was only steps away. They walked in step, Trowa backing him toward it, manoeuvring him blind. Kaelin's hands were all over him, stroking him, and he was so hard it hurt to walk. Kaelin's little vest disappeared without conscious thought, and he didn't even notice when his own went missing. Kaelin was leaning into him, kissing, licking his throat. He was more than ready for Trowa to open his fly, to curl around him, to tighten. He made great gasping breaths through clenched jaws, a guttural outcry when Trowa bit his earlobe, his throat, his nipple. He wrenched Kaelin's waistband down to expose the upper curves of his ass, splayed his fingers wide around to squeeze him. Then he was propped on his knees and hands between Kaelin's legs, saying, "How careful am I going to have to be?"

Pale thighs. Pale everything, except his hair, and his tongue when he wet his lips, and the flushed marks of bites down his chest and stomach that only Trowa's teeth remembered putting there.

"Do you ask everyone that?"

"No," Trowa answered. He'd lad lube with him from the flight into Space. It had gone onto the bedside table with everything other miscellaneous possession, deodorant, cologne, clippers, a pocket knife. He opened the flip cap with his thumb and squirted a cold handful into his palm. "Usually, I just take what I want." He pushed until Kaelin's shoulders met the mattress, pushed until his knees were pressed to his chest, and followed the swipe of his wet hand inside of the warm waiting body.

Maybe it was a measure of where his humanity was at that it took half a minute after that for it to even sink in what exactly he was doing. Maybe he'd just been too horny, and if that was true, the kid wasn't blameless.


Eyes squeezed shut like he was afraid it would hurt. Maybe it did. Probably a fucking virgin. Probably just a kid who hadn't really known what it would be like, and had thought he could trust--

He lowered his forehead to Kaelin's bony collar. "Breathe," he murmured.

Hands fluttered, clenched into fists in the sheet. "I'm fine."

He waited. Until Kaelin obeyed, and the ribcage under his cheek expanded, twice, again. He trailed his fingers down Kaelin's sternum, down through the black curls to the head of his cock. He curved his hand under Kaelin's thigh, and petted him slowly.

When he began to move again, Kaelin was relaxed enough to move with him. Which was lucky, because all he had in mind now was finishing this fast and hoping Kaelin was so-- whatever emotion that he'd walk out, hurt, humiliated, whatever it took to keep him away once he was out the door. He thought of all the sexiest things he'd ever seen or heard or read-- wank videos, erotic comics, the smell of rain on sunburnt skin, the noises Quatre had made the first time they'd made love-- when they'd slept side by side that night, the sound of his breathing--

He came. He lay still, until the weakness passed, until he could hear something besides his own heart. Kaelin was still, too.

Close enough to feel him swallow.

He trailed his fingertip from Kaelin's shoulder to his wrist. The little hairs on his arm stood up with gooseflesh. He laced their fingers. Their hands were so different. Almost the same size, which argued Kaelin wasn't done growing. But his were brown, and had their old scars, their calluses. Kaelin's were still so perfect; handsome hands.

He sat up, finally, to deal with the condom. He got a towel from the bath for them both, wet from the sink, and tossed his back into the pile for the laundry pickup. "You okay?" he asked briefly.

"Yeah. Fine." Kaelin wiped off, gingerly. When he sat up, he faced opposite Trowa, to the wall.

He reached to touch again. Thought better of it. "It gets better."

"It was great." With not much passing as enthusiasm, in that statement, Trowa believed it about as much as Kaelin did.

He sat and pulled the kid by the arm until he turned. "Look," he said. "I should've been nicer about it."

"Oh, God. The only thing that's going to make this suck worse is if you keep talking like that. Just shut up already!"

He caught Kaelin's wrist and pulled back down before he got more than halfway to his feet. And then, since he had momentum, he yanked Kaelin onto his back and spooned him, wrapping his arms around in spite of the mild struggling Kaelin put up. "Easy," he said, and held on anyway until Kaelin gave in. "You don't have to go running off into the night."

"Not what I thought it would be like," Kaelin ventured, a moody eternity later.

"What did you think?"

"I don't know."

"This is what it's like. Sometimes not even as good as this."

"Are you trying to tell me to be straight?"

He nuzzled Kaelin's neck. "I'm telling you to be more careful who you go home with."

"So what? That's it?" Kaelin wrestled free and made a grab for his pants, hanging off the end of the bed. Trowa propped himself on his elbows to watch as he fumbled his feet into them.

"It should be," he started, because, after all, this had been the goal. It might have been better if he'd managed to get to it without the sex, but maybe he hadn't caused irreparable mental damage. Emotional damage. He'd pushed back hard, but Kaelin had been putting up a good show of his own, and you didn't come up with that kind of an act if you didn't have some sizable balls behind it. Quat had been the same way.

But he'd been telling himself that Kaelin wasn't Quatre. Kaelin wasn't. Maybe they were both strong, but Quatre had known the world, and Kaelin didn't. Like that stupid concert. That was the product of luxury, that was the product of parents who knew what there was that a child needed sheltering from; smoking because that was biggest rebellion he could think of, dancing with an older man because he thought that was what danger was, mouthing bad lyrics sung by washed-up bands whose entire image was too lazy to shower. Strength had a lot to do with what you lived through, and Quat--

Had lived through Trowa Barton, too. Lived and left.

He was dry-mouthed. He said, "But you're here for tonight. So... come back to bed."

"For what?" the kid retorted, snide in his hurt. "Another stellar performance?"

"Want me to take you home?"

"I'll sleep on your couch."

"Like hell. Look-- come back to bed."

Kaelin whirled suddenly and knocked him back against the pillows. Trowa dragged him after, and rolled to pin him again. "Just exactly what did you think was going to happen?"

"Fuck me like you can remember my name."

"I know your name, Kaelin." He wrapped one of Kaelin's curls around his finger. "I'm sorry I was so shitty."

"Why were you? You were looking at me from the first minute I walked into the room. Why blame me for it?"

"It wasn't about blame." He kissed Kaelin, half to see if he could, and kept it gentle. "I warned you I wasn't a romantic. Did you think I was lying?"

"Yes. I guess." Kaelin's eyelids lowered. Trowa rubbed the very tip of his long lashes, so lightly they didn't even flutter. "Sorry, too."

"Don't be." He let out a big cleansing breath. "Maybe in the morning, if you're not sore, we'll... try that again."

He almost missed it, blinking. But it was definitely triumph on Kaelin's face.

Oh, Barton, he thought. You don't know a damn thing what you're doing.


Trowa wasn't sure at what age it became cool to profess undying love after your first sexual experience, but Kaelin seemed to feel it was an important rite of passage. For Trowa, it had a fear factor somewhere between having your Gundam explode around you and your 'chute refusing to open.

They marathoned through the wee hours of the night. He called it quits at four, mostly because he could barely keep his eyes open, even if it was for sex, and because by then he was sure Kaelin was going to be all kinds of sore in the AM. It wasn't the worst way to go to sleep, all told, and he didn't even mind the wet spots.

He did mind being waked by peals of thunder. He fumbled for the alarm, before it registered that nothing man-made could produce that sound. He rubbed sand from his eyes, and turned over to see Kaelin staring back at him.

"Was that your stomach?"

"Sorry," Kaelin said.

"Guess I'd better feed you." He was groggy. He coughed to clear his throat, and managed to sit up without dying.

"I'm a vegan," Kaelin said.

"You're not serious."

"Why wouldn't I be serious?"

"Because it's ridiculous. And you're not."

The kid grinned at him. It was the first time he'd done that. It made it damn hard to be grumpy, except about being, apparently, a softy.

He had half of last night's pizza still in the box in the fridge. He tossed it onto the bed, and followed it, nose-diving for his pillow. "Breakfast is served."

Kaelin, in the boundless energy of youth, was upright and ripping into the kill. He had half a piece down before Trowa even made it onto his back. Kaelin threw a leg over his, just for the touch of bare skin. Trowa let his hand fall to Kaelin's thigh, just because it was there.

"Aren't you hungry?" the kid asked.

"Too early in the morning for me. Enjoy."

"It's--" He checked. "Ten."

"Yeah." Kaelin had a second piece down to the crust and picked up a third. Trowa made an effort not to watch the carnage. "What time do you need to be home?"

"Dad said I could skip school. He didn't expect me back until regular."


"I can spend all day with you."

"Sure. What'd you have in mind." As if he couldn't figure it out. Kaelin slung his other leg over Trowa's lap, anyway, and lay there with smirking eyes licking marinara off his fingers. All in all, it was pretty clearly stated.

"So," Trowa said. "I'll drop you off with a hitch in your stride and an aversion to chairs?"

"It's not like they'll notice."

"Is that what this is all about? Pushing the envelope until they notice and freak out?"

"Like hell I want them to notice." Kaelin stretched, and pushed the box until it fell off the bed. Splayed out wide and pale across the dark hotel sheets, he made an enticing picture. And knew it. He added, with relish, "I'd rather stay here and fuck all day."

"You don't have to push so hard. Okay? You're here."

"So make use of me."

"You're not a receptacle."

"Can I say anything right the first time for you?"

"What's that mean? You're here." Trowa squeezed his thigh. "I don't spend the night having sex with people I don't like at least a little."

The kid caught the word he wanted to hear, predictably. "So you like me."

Perforce requiring Trowa to answer in kind, or be a bigger jerk-off than Treize Khushrenada on a particularly jerk-offy day. "Yeah, Kaelin," he admitted, resigned. "I like you."

"So like me." A slender finger emerged from the bedsheets to trail a path down Trowa's pec. It circled his nipple and tugged.

Trowa attempted a gentle tone. "I think we should give it a rest."


"Why do you want this so much?"

The hand on his chest dropped to his lap, but stayed still, this time. Kaelin said, "I waited seven years for you to come back."

Whoa. Well, shit. That had some staggering implications.

Kaelin sat up on his elbows. "I knew what I was since I was three years old. I never felt right in my own body. I couldn't tell Mum or Dad, because they'd just tell me I was fine the way I was and I'd settle one day, but you said-- do you remember what you said?"

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