"I don't think you should eat those." Tony made a face at the hotdogs nestled in paper boats Sean was carrying to the nearest bench.
"Shut up, I'm hungry," Sean retorted without looking over his shoulder as Tony followed him. "You're the one that was all 'let's go to Coney Island!' so this is what there is to eat."
It was a decent sunny and warm day, Tony's dad had given them both the same day off from the Higgins' family-owned corner shop, and Tony had cash burning a hole in his pocket. Why not hit the amusement park? It was a summer tradition of his, but somehow Sean had never been. Tony took it upon himself to correct that. Sean had just given him that flat, skeptical stare when he'd suggested it, but Tony told him, repeatedly, how fun it would be and by the time they were halfway there he'd agreed.
"Yeah, but I came for the games and rides, not the food." Tony scowled at the wrinkly tubes of meat.
Sean ignored him. He balanced his paper boats in the crease of his thighs and set his drink on the opposite side from Tony. The jerk knew him too well. Tony leaned over to see if he could reach the soda from where he sat. He caught a whiff of the hotdogs as Sean blocked him with a hand that held one before taking another bite of it.
Tony scrunched his nose. "They look--" he considered the one slathered with ketchup and mustard in Sean's lap. "They look like shriveled old-man dicks."
Sean stopped and frowned at his food. "Yeah, thanks for that image," he deadpanned and stuck the straw to his soda at the corner of his mouth. Tony reached for the cup, and Sean faked passing it to him before putting it down on the pavement beside his feet, still opposite from Tony. Tony stood up with a huff, hoping to gain a strategic advantage.
"Actually," Sean studied the half-eaten hotdog in his hand, turning it lengthwise to show Tony, "This one's shorter, see? It looks like your little wiener." Sean grinned in that impish way. "Hey, you missing something, Tony?" He stuck out his leg and prodded a sneaker at Tony's crotch.
Tony batted Sean's foot away feeling heat flush up his torso from where it had brushed him. He stepped back and over, still angling for the soda. "Ha. Ha. And how would you know?"
Sean just wriggled his eyebrows and took a disturbingly sensuous bite of his second hotdog.
Tony held Sean's gaze and raised an eyebrow, calling his bluff. He shrugged and spread his hands in an open-palmed invitation for Sean to peruse the merchandise. Sean smirked around his mouthful of food.
One of these days Tony was going to wipe that smirk right off Sean's face. Every time Sean shot some smart-mouthed comment at him in the storeroom or from a clean-up on aisle two, or cocked his chin with a smile as Tony was badgered into more work by his dad, Tony had to ball his hands into fists to resist the urge to launch himself over boxes of dry goods or the checkout counter, clap his hands to Sean's head, and bend him back into a kiss that would erase that smirk but good.
Exactly how Sean would take that, he didn't know. But Tony had played worse odds.
At the moment he stuffed his fists into the pockets of his shorts, tenting them away from his body just a bit, and tapped his foot in impatience. "You done yet? C'mon before the lines get too long."
Sean rolled his eyes and choked down the rest of his meal. He grabbed his soda as he stood and Tony swooped in for it, but Sean was quick, holding it high overhead with a laugh.
Crushing the empty paper boats in his free hand, Sean took guarded steps toward a trash barrel. He sipped at the cup as he went, fending Tony off with one bony arm like a professional basketballer. Tony laughed and dodged behind him, one hand slipping under the hem of Sean's baggy t-shirt and landing on a bare patch of skin just above his hip. Sean froze and Tony jostled into him, then he froze too. Sean turned his head just a fraction, chin dipping down and shoulders tensing, and for a slice of a second Tony felt Sean sizing it all up.
But then he spun out of Tony's grasp, sidestepped while slurping at the cup until the ice cubes rattled to prove it was empty, and slam dunked both the cup and paper boats. He raised his arms in the air like a champion signaling victory, still somehow chewing on his last bite of hotdog.
"All right, all right," Tony swatted the air in defeat. "Nice job, Kobe. Can we go now?"
In response, Sean opened his mouth to reveal the half-chewed remains of hotdog discolored by condiments and soda.
Disgusting, sure. But Tony was nothing if not an opportunist. "Yum," he said, letting his sarcasm show in a grin and pausing only slightly before strutting over, fitting the heel of his palm to the same patch of skin at Sean's waist it had just encountered, and leaning in close enough to say in his ear, voice low, "Can I have some?"
Sean gulped and swallowed and took a shaky breath. Then he turned to look Tony squarely in the face, and belched.
Tony made a grossed-out expression and shoved Sean's face away from his, both of them laughing.
Trotting away, hands in pockets, Sean called over his shoulder, "You coming or what?"
In a few hours they had made short work of all Tony's favorite game stands, most of which had to do with luck and numbers and timing. Sean had yanked him to a few target shooting booths, too, and soundly beaten him at each of them.
When Sean won at filling up his slow-moving, translucent green plastic turtle with the provided water pistol -- a game ten or more years too young for either of them -- the only prizes were your choice from an assortment of candy-colored stuffed creatures. Sean picked a unicorn with a gold horn and magenta mane and tail, and batted his eyelashes while making a kissy face as he handed it to Tony.
Tony shot a him a look, whapped him upside the head, and took the unicorn only to pass it directly to a little girl of maybe six or so behind them in line, whose eyes went huge with delight and whose dad prompted her to thank him and offered his own thanks with smile. Tony acknowledged them both with a short wave before catching Sean's wrist and dragging him away.
"You gave away my gift!" Sean mimicked heartbreak. "I won that especially for you!"
Tony rolled his eyes skyward. "And I gave it especially to her. C'mon, we're going to the Wonder Wheel."
Sean rooted his heels to the pavement, forcing Tony to lose his grip on Sean's wrist. "You sure you don't want to get your fortune read or something?"
Tony scratched behind his ear and tried to see through the crowd and across the plaza to the Wonder Wheel. "What? No. C'mon, the line isn't bad. It's, like, one of the best Ferris wheels in the country. You'll see."
By the time they made it to the line, Sean was looking a little pale. Tony looked at him askance as he led them to the line for the swinging cars, but Sean was wearing one of his slapped-on, determined smiles, and so Tony figured he was grinning and bearing a lame Ferris wheel ride.
The swinging cars hung on a track toward the center of the Ferris wheel (as opposed to the stationary ones on the outside) and slid back and forth with the rotation of the wheel. Even though he knew it was a feature unique to Coney Island's Wonder Wheel, it just wasn't a proper Ferris wheel ride to Tony if you couldn't feel the dip and sway of the remarkable machine.
They were loaded onto a blue car with two other couples, a mom with a fanny pack and her preteen son, and two tourists who looked like newlyweds. Sean made a beeline for the back of the cabin and planted his butt on the bench seat with his back firmly against the window, buckling himself in before crossing his arms. Tony joined him, kneeling with his nose to the window. "This is gonna be awesome. Better than any other Ferris wheel you've been on."
Neck bent and eyes on the floor as the wheel ascended some to load passengers onto the next car, Sean said, "This is the first one I've ever been on."
A genuine grin spilt Tony's face as he shifted to belt himself in as well. "I'm popping your Ferris wheel cherry? Ha! Fantastic. No better ride to do it on." He couldn't quite keep the hint of innuendo out of that last bit, and the mom at the adjacent window shot him a warning glance. He sobered and bobbed his head in apology.
The Wonder Wheel hiked higher and higher as car unloaded and loaded. Tony watched out the smudged and scratched Plexiglas as the amusement park attendees shrunk in size and the horizon expanded, and Sean stared straight ahead out the opposite window. Tony elbowed him to point out the view of the Manhattan skyline once they were high enough, but the ride started and Sean grew paler and visibly dug his fingers into his upper arms.
"You okay?" Tony blinked.
Sean darted a glance at him. "Dandy."
Tony pursed his lips and furrowed his brow, but the feeling of their car reaching the apex of the wheel, distracted him -- it meant the real fun was about to begin. "Hang on to something," he ordered Sean, and let out a whoop as the wheel began its descent and the car launched into its corresponding slide down its track, out toward the edge of the wheel. The result was a sensation of hurtling off the contraption altogether, but just at the point Tony always thought he was gonna die, the accumulated force rebounded the car up and around its track and sent it flying back to the beginning.
Everyone was laughing and grabbing their bellies, Sean gripping his stomach perhaps in more earnest than everyone else.
"Seriously, you okay?" Tony asked again as the car swayed, more gently, on its track as they finished the descending revolution and steadied into the next ascent.
Sean looked downright feeble. "You could have warned me about the threat-of-imminent-death feeling."
Tony chuckled. "That's what makes it awesome!" They were rising again, the Atlantic Ocean and Jersey shore visible out the windows across from them. "Here we go again," he offered by way of warning.
"Shit." Sean snapped his eyes shut, leaving Tony to cringe in another apology to the nearby mom.
As the Wonder Wheel car was sent soaring into its phony freefall, Sean flung a hand out and clawed Tony's knee.
Tony laughed outright, stomach flip-flopping from the kinetic force of the ride and Sean's hand on his leg. He pried Sean's white knuckles open and slipped their palms together, Sean's grasp immediately resuming around Tony's hand.
They stayed hand-in-hand for the rest of the ride. After a couple more revolutions, Sean even opened his eyes once or twice, briefly, and laughed a few times at the disorienting and giddy feeling. As the Wonder Wheel slowed, its movement becoming stop-and-go as the cars were emptied and reloaded, Sean retained his sweaty death grip, not releasing Tony until their car came to a stop at the ramp and he unbuckled his belt.
The other passengers disembarked first and Tony was on his feet before Sean, mostly because Sean didn't so much stand as wobble upward.
"Dude--" Tony began, actually kind of worried, but Sean cut him off with a glare.
"I got it," he spat, glancing around at the carny manning the door and crowd of passengers.
Tony held up his hands in surrender and exited the car, walking slower than he usually would. They made it down the ramp, through the worst of the still-giddy Wonder Wheel goers, and then Sean ducked away with an abrupt about-face.
Confused, Tony turned to see Sean clutching the nearest trash barrel, heaving over the side, puking his guts out.
"Jesus, Sean," he exhaled in surprise then screwed up his face as Sean upchucked again. "That's sick, man."
Sean coughed and gagged and coughed again and spit. "No shit." He was flushed and sweaty now, his hair sticking to his forehead, and his eyes were glossy. He pushed away from the trash bin and swiped his mouth on the sleeve of his t-shirt.
Tony jerked his chin in the direction of a park bench and followed as Sean made it over there with stilted steps. He sat down slowly, eyes closed, and Tony plopped down next to him, deciding the wise thing would be to stay silent.
He sat there -- arms spread along the back of the bench, legs crossed with ankle to knee -- and people-watched for nearly ten minutes while Sean slouched on the bench, head and neck bent to rest along the curve of the metal weave.
Eventually Sean lifted his head, slow and careful.
"Better?" Tony asked.
"Yeah," Sean said without nodding.
"Good." Tony scooted closer and elbowed him in the ribs. "Dude, it was only the Ferris wheel. We weren't even going fast."
That earned him a pointed glare. "No, but we were high, asshole. I get vertigo."
Tony kind of tried not to laugh, but ended up not being able to help it. "You get vertigo? You're afraid of heights?" Sean eyes were hard enough to sharpen daggers. "Then why the hell did you get on a Ferris wheel?"
Sean's expression flipped from a murderous glare to a look that clearly said "you're an idiot."
Tony also couldn't keep the other half of a cocky grin off his face as Sean's meaning hit home. Score. Odds had obviously been in Tony's favor all along. "Well, then."
Sean just snorted and rolled his head away, arms still wrapped around his torso. "I can't believe I threw up."
"Yeah, well, I told you not to eat those hotdogs," Tony leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
With his eyes closed Sean said, "You can shove it."
"Just so you know," Tony clapped his hands on his knees and then stood, "I'm so not kissing you now."
Sean lifted an eyelid and smirked a little. "But you still totally want to."
With Sean's lips quirked up at the corners like that, yeah, Tony totally did. "Shut up," he said half heartedly as he stuck out a hand to help Sean up. "Maybe we can find a place to win you a toothbrush."
Looking lazy, Sean swung an arm up to meet Tony's hand. His tight grip and subsequent rough yank were a surprise, but Tony braced himself just in time to prevent falling forward as Sean whipped to his feet, promptly standing scant inches from Tony with their clasped hands sandwiched at chest level.
The air between their bodies had time to rise a few degrees as both boys looked from each other's eyes to lips and back. Sean licked his own bottom lip, bit it, then met Tony's stare.
And then he smirked.
Tony sprung to action. He clapped his hands to the sides of Sean's face, fingers hooking just behind his jaw, and closed the gap between them, bending Sean back just the slightest with the force of his mouth against Sean's.
He played it safe and kept his lips sealed, but when Sean parted his, Tony gave in and kissed him fully. Sean tasted musty and sour but felt sleek and powerful and his kiss was as dizzying as the Wonder Wheel. Tony broke it off to breathe, combating his own sense of vertigo.
They panted for a few seconds, eyes locked, and then said, simultaneously, "Told you so."
Tony laughed, Sean just smiled. "What'd you tell me?"
"Knew you wanted to kiss me, asshole," Sean retorted with an inverted nod and a grin. "What're you so smug about?"
Tony reached for Sean's wrist and pulled him close again, placing his other hand on Sean's slim hip and nuzzled his jaw. "Told you Coney Island would be fun."
Told You So by cymbalism
Written for Lazy Days of Summer Slash Exchange '09 for CHWheeler, who prompted Ferris wheel and "questionable hotdogs" (ha!). Be sure to check out the rest of the excellent summer slash, too!