It Had to Be You

Race sighed and stared out the window. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. Actually that wasn't true... It was fairly cloudy out. But the breeze was beautiful... tantalizing... Mr. Cappeli's window was only open a crack, but it was enough to let a slight drift of wind to cascade into the stuffy classroom. Soon, Race would be out there. He was walking to the nearby A&W with Mush and Blink after school. It was the first real warm day... Race couldn't wait.

The class turned the pages of their history book in unison, and it snapped Race out of his daydreaming. Swearing softly, he turned a few pages and tried to concentrate. Try... to... concentrate. Another breath of wind made it's way to Race's seat next to the window, and in frustration, he plopped his head onto the desk. 'Maybe I'll learn through osmosis' He thought with a weary sarcasm. Slowly, he began falling asleep. There was a soft snicker from the desk behind him, and Race felt a slight prodding in the back of his neck.

Turning around in his seat, he came face to face with Sean Conlon, or "Spot" as Race liked to joke. Spot was the one person Race didn't need pestering him now. Race didn't like his personality. Spot was a know-it-all, and very stuck up. Intelligent and crafty, he was used to getting what he wanted. Spot was popular in a strange way. He didn't have many close friends, but had an extensive network of people that "gained his favor". Spot abused this network. He found out every single piece of information almost as soon as it happened. And unfortunately for Race, Spot happened to find out something of his... Something he told Mush only three days before.

~~~POV 1st person - Race~~~

"Mushy, I've got to tell you something." Mush stared at me awkwardly. I couldn't blame him. After all, I'd just brought him to one of the school most remote stairwells between fourth and fifth period.

"T-Tony?"

I hung my head. Nervousness and nausea clawed at my stomach. My heart thumped loudly and I discovered what people meant when they had "butterflies". "Mush I think I... I think I'm... I don't..." I couldn't find the words to speak. I couldn't say anything, even if I had wanted to. Mush, sensing the internal battle I was waging, out a hand on my shoulder.

"It's okay Race. It can't be that bad. Just say it real quick and get it over with. Just not too quick kay?"

I took a deep breath. "I'vebeenthinkingalotandIthinkIlikeboys".

There was a silence and I could see Mush trying to figure out what I had just said. But when he did, a huge grin broke out on his face.

"Oh Race! I'm so proud of you!" he hugged me so tight I almost couldn't breath. "Is there anyone in particular?"

I leaned in and whispered something in his ear. When I pulled back I asked softly, "Do you think there's a chance?"

He just smiled, and then the bell rang, and we scurried out to our classes. Unbeknownst to me, Echo, one of Spot's "groupies" walked out after us, smiling as well.

~~~

Needless to say that same day, Race became the subject of blackmail.

"Here's what I'll do for ya Race" Spot had said. "I'll keep your little secret, but you gotta stop mocking me, and calling me Spot."

Race nodded eagerly. After all, even though teasing Spot was the only time he got Spot to talk to him... The simple demand surprised him. He had been expecting to be sold into slavery for his secret. But this was good too. He slowly turned to leave, when Spot called out one more thing.

"Oh and Racey-boy," he said in mock falsetto, "go buy me a Snickers!" then proceeded to laugh at Race's startled expression. And although Race's cheeks were burning red, he couldn't help but to think that Spot... or rather Sean now, had a nice laugh...

~~~ End Flashbacks~~

Sean grinned at him, now holding the pencil up to Race's nose. "Hiya Racey-boy" he whispered, smirking at Race.

"Shut up, Sean" Race muttered and turned back to his desk. This was so not the kind of day he had been hoping for. It was such a fantastic day outside, but inside these school walls, Race was experiencing a type of hell. Sean poked him again and Race whirled around in his seat. "Goddammit if you don't stop I'm going to break that pencil and your hands." It was vehement, but hushed.

"Whatcha gonna do Race? Smack me with your purse?" Spot was now sneering defiantly, twirling the pencil in his fingers.

Eyes blazing, Race turned back around, biting his tongue so hard he tasted blood. If he said even one word, he knew he'd explode right in the middle of class.

Behind him, Spot was disappointed. He had expected more of a reaction out of Race. He wanted more of a reaction. Anything to get Race to talk to him... Even if it meant he had to be a complete and total bastard about it.

Poking Race once more, extra hard, he whispered, "faggot."

Race tensed visibly. Something hit him in the stomach, and he felt sick... numb... then the anger hit. "What did you just call me!? Race's voice rose at his out burst. "You have no right Spot!" he spat, "You have NO right!" Race stood and slammed his hands down on Sean's desk.

Sean looked shocked, then, automatically he stood up, retaliating. He was about to yell when both boys were pulled apart my Mr. Cappeli.

"Higgins! Conlon! What do you think you're doing?" he continued on, with out giving them a chance to answer. "Both of you, detention! See Mr. Polinsky after school today. Now take your seats! One more outburst..." He didn't finish his sentence... he didn't need to.

Race, stunned, sank to his seat. Everything had happened at once. Spot had... Spot had called him a... And now detention. Dammit! He was supposed to meet Mush and Blink after school. He gave the window one longing glance before letting his head drop to his desk and stay there. "Hell" he thought, "This will be hell."

~~~

The final bell rang, dismissing the school to the beauty of the outside world. The cloud had cleared and the sun shone through. And as Race trudged away from the main doors, holding the yellow detention slip, he couldn't help but curse Sean mentally.

The Irish boy trudged along behind him, strangely silent.

When they arrived at Mr. Polinsky's room, he signed their slips, ripped the detention rules off the door and threw them in the recycle bin. "Just don't break anything," he said before waltzing out of the room, leaving the two boys to their own devices.

Race choose a desk as far away from Sean and as close to the windows as he could possible get. With a loud sigh, Race pried open one of the windows and pressed against the gritty black screen. The room was dark and warm, and the draft the open window caused was incredibly refreshing.

Still seething on the inside, Race didn't turn around when he heard Sean call his name softly. He didn't turn around when he knew Sean had moved to the seat next to him. He didn't even turn around when he heard the whispered, "I'm sorry." Though it took an incredible amount of willpower.

"Did you hear me?"

There was no response.

"Please Race... Tony... please say something. Look, I know I shouldn't have teased you, and called you a... I shouldn't have said what I did."

Somehow that angered Race, and he turned to face Sean. "You think that's gonna fix it?" he started out slowly, "you think that's gonna make it better? Well Sean you're wrong! You had to keep pushing and pushing. You don't know what this like..."

There was a pause, and Race was about to turn away again when Sean mumbled, "Yes, I do know"

It caught Race off guard, and he raised his voice again, before he even knew he what he was saying. "No you don't know. You have no idea how hard this is. I can hardly accept it! And to tell Mush was the biggest step I've ever taken. Then you had to find out too." Race spat out.

Sean head shot up, and he spook through clenched teeth. "Goddammit Tony, when I say I know what it's like, then to hell, I know! You're the one who doesn't understand. For the past year I've been trying to get your attention! No matter what I had to say or do to you. Damn you Tony! You're just too wrapped up in yourself to see how much I really care about you!

Race inhaled sharply, and Sean froze. His eyes got huge and for a second they could only stare at each other.

"Shit!" Spot yelped and jumped up, intending to get out of the room before the words had a chance to sink in. But Race grabbed his sleeve.

"Don't!" He whispered, "I want to talk to you."

Reluctantly, Sean sat back down, and a moment of awkward silence passed over the two of them.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Race clenched Sean's sleeve tighter. Their eyes met, and Sean found the barrier he had set up dissolving away in front of him.

"I... I was afraid. Afraid you wouldn't..." Before Sean had a chance to finish, Race pulled him into a tight hug. It was harsh and clumsy, but they somehow fit together. Race let all thoughts go and sunk into their embrace. Sean seemed to do the same. After what seemed like hours, they pulled apart, their hands lingering.

"I'm sorry again, Race" Sean said quietly

Race smiled. "I thought for sure you knew... I did tell Mush that I thought you were really hot. Guess your little network isn't the best after all."

They both laughed, and hands intertwined. But upon looking Race in the eyes, Sean grew serious. "Race... Race I really like you. I don't know much about feelings and all that mushy stuff, but I do know how I feel about you. And I'm glad you feel the same."

Something in what Sean said touched Race, and gingerly, he caressed Sean's cheek. Inexorably, they moved closer together, and kissed softly. Like the hug, it was clumsy, but it felt so right...

When they separated, Race couldn't stop grinning. Neither could Sean. They kissed again, only this time it was a little longer.

The door handle turned and Mr. Polinsky's voice floated through.

"Tony is in here, Michael. His time is almost up any- oh...."

Shocked, the two boys sprang apart. Mush was confused for a split second, then realization hit and he began laughing. Bright red, they gathered their things in haste and ran out the door, with Mush following close behind. Mr. Polinsky watched them run down the hall, now hand in hand, and he couldn't help but smile.

"At least they didn't break anything."

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