by Critical Strike
illustrated by olukemi
— February 14th, 2008 —
Some people had reason to hate Valentine’s Day. Hell, it was just created by the card and chocolate companies to entice people to spend money, profess the love they should be professing all year long, and generally make single people feel like shit, right? Or something reasonably bitter sounding like that. See, that was part of the problem, really. If you hated Valentine’s Day, it had to be because you were single, and thus bitter about the lovey-dovey day, right? No, it couldn’t just be because the concept of the “holiday” was ridiculous.
Or because you were a seventeen year old boy with pink hair, who got never-ending shit from classmates because his hair was, in fact, pink. And naturally pink, no less. Connor had been born with pink hair, inherited from the mother who’d mysteriously disappeared when he was only two. But despite his dark brows, he was a natural pinkhead. Liam knew that for certain, though the initial sight of pink pubes was pretty surprising. Then again, after a few seconds’ worth of staring, Liam wasn’t exactly looking at the pink hairs there.
Liam was Connor’s boyfriend and it still tickled them both to use the word. They’d only been using it about a month, maybe a month and a half now, since a little while after Connor wound up staying with Liam’s family.
— December 19, 2007 —
“We can stop and grab something to eat on the way home, unless you feel like cooking. I know I don’t.” Liam made the offer to his sister Natalie as they headed back towards the subway.
Natalie’s response was odd. “You don’t have any money. Someone just took your wallet.”
“What?” Liam stopped short, hand immediately going for his pocket and, lo and behold, finding it empty. “Shit!” He looked around wildly, golden eyes scanning the street for a possible perpetrator. He turned back to his younger sister. “Who did it, Nat?”
Natalie’s green-hazel eyes slipped shut; Liam watched her think. No, not think. Search. Natalie’s ability wasn’t as strong as their father’s, but she had a certain amount of psychic strength. She could find people if she knew what she was looking for, had something to focus on, or just concentrated really hard. And if she did all three…
Natalie’s eyes opened and she pointed back in the direction they’d come from. “That way. He’ll be easy to spot. He has pink hair.”
Hours later, Liam found himself paying for pizza, and giving the delivery man a generous tip. He looked at the couch where both his sister and the pink-haired boy sat, wondering how this stranger who’d swiped his wallet just hours before was now sitting in their living room, watching a movie with his younger sister. It had been Natalie’s fault, really. Liam had been busy questioning him about stealing the money. He’d gotten his wallet back, but not the cash. It didn’t take a mindreader, even though Natalie sort of was one, to be able to tell that the boy – Connor – really needed the money. Liam wouldn’t really miss it; it was the personal items in the wallet he needed.
But while he’d been asking questions, Natalie had been getting her own answers, by accident really. The image of Connor’s shit-hole apartment, all rundown with no furniture and about the size of a postage stamp, popped into her head. And just as quickly, eyes fixed on Connor, she had said, “Your apartment’s crap. You should come stay with us.”
Natalie had been unfazed by the astonished look both boys gave her. She was used to that.
Their conversation on the way home had been every bit as strange. Connor had watched the siblings and leaned back in his seat, long legs stretching out into the aisle of the subway car. “How’d you know? About my place, I mean.”
Liam and Natalie exchanged glances. “Nat does stuff like that sometimes,” Liam said slowly. Details on what Natalie could do might come later. Liam didn’t like to talk about it. But Connor found out what Liam could do first hand, moments later as they exited the train. Skin to skin contact was all it took for the pink-haired boy, and when he accidentally brushed against Liam, he felt the rush through him as whatever the oldest power he clung to cycled out, leaving room for Liam’s ability. Whatever it was.
But one thing he’d already learned: both siblings were mutants like him. Connor could teleport as far as he could see. And he could mimic or “borrow” up to three other abilities. What those abilities were depended on who Connor touched. Touching Liam, he’d soon discover, had given him the ability to project incredibly believable illusions, as well as the ability to locate Natalie anywhere.
Liam sat between Connor and Natalie on the couch, golden eyes surreptitiously watching Connor. Connor’s eyebrows were brown, Liam noticed, not like the pale, almost cotton-candy pink color of his hair. Dye job, but pink? Seemed an odd choice. But it looked good on him, Liam found himself thinking, both the color and the length. Maybe it left him looking a little… delicate, but it worked for him. He was pretty.
It was maybe an hour later that Natalie stretched, yawned and got up, mumbling good night to them both. The pizza box was pushed aside, empty, forgotten, and both boys stretched themselves out on the pullout couch, not quite actually watching the second movie Liam had put in.
Connor shifted, waited until Natalie’s door closed, and without looking at Liam, asked, “So, you got any porn?”
–December 20th, 2007 —
Liam opened his eyes and sat up in bed. It took seconds before memories of the previous night flooded into his head. He had no idea how things had progressed the way they had. At first, they were just watching one of Liam’s favorite porno movies, downloaded off the internet and burned onto DVD. He wasn’t sure when things went from two guys just watching the racy, plotless movie to Connor slipping a hand into his pajama bottoms – no, scratch that, it was Liam’s pajama bottoms Connor was wearing – and starting to jerk himself off.
Liam didn’t know when he’d started to do the same. He didn’t know when it got to the point where they were watching each other and not the movie. He didn’t know when it was that his pajama bottoms – the ones Connor was wearing – went down around slim hips, and Liam got himself a good look at the patch of pink hair around Connor’s dick. Hunh, was all he could think, because then he stopped watching the curls of pink and started watching Connor’s hand stroking up and down his own length.
And then he was uncertain again, unsure when it was that they moved to his bedroom. He knew it was sometime after Natalie came out for a glass of water and scared them both into guilty silence. They waited breathlessly as she padded quietly back to her own room, not even glancing at the TV which had been switched to something safe seconds before she came out. Then they moved: into his bedroom, movie back on the screen. Liam didn’t know exactly when his own hand was replaced by Connor’s mouth, or when that same hand slid into pink hair, gripping tighter and tighter until he came with a muffled shout, and Connor sucked him dry.
Liam hadn’t ever been interested in guys before, and Connor had left him like that, sated and questioning, and headed back out to the pullout sofa. Liam took too long to fall asleep. Morning came before he wanted it to, and it was the sound of what sounded like an explosion that woke him.
Natalie and Connor were sitting in the kitchen. The toaster was no longer a toaster. Instead, it was a twisted pile of crushed metal. Natalie’s eyes were wide. “What did you do?” she asked Connor accusingly.
Connor’s bright blue eyes were just as wide. “I don’t know. That depends.” He looked at her cautiously. “What exactly can you do?” Because his hand had brushed hers – another accident – but now, he had her abilities rushing through him and worse, no idea how to use them.
“Liam!” The call came just as Liam’s head popped in the doorway. Natalie look worried. She never looked worried. “Connor touched my arm.” Four words, and they meant volumes.
Liam slid golden eyes from sister to… him. “Aw, shit. C’mere, Connor.” And if any Trekkies had been watching, they’d have exploded like the toaster, because what Liam did looked a hell of a lot like a Vulcan mind-meld, without all the spoken mumbo-jumbo. Sort of worked like one too. Liam was in Connor’s head now, and he reined in the abilities it had taken Natalie years to learn to control. He’d had to do it for her years ago when her abilities manifested all at once and nearly drove her crazy. “Nat’s stuff’s pretty unpredictable. I’m gonna have to keep it – and you – under wraps for a while.” You have no idea how dangerous this could have been.
Connor’s eyes widened more and then closed to near slits. I dunno. I get to have you in my head now? Not much of a problem for me, really. “What can she do, exactly?”
Liam sighed and ignored the thought in favor of the spoken question. “It’s hard to explain. If she concentrates, she can focus on any one thing and change it. She can alter any object, almost any way she wants, but not people. People she can find no matter where they are, so long as she knows what she’s looking for.” And now so can you.
Connor nodded. “And if she doesn’t concentrate, shit blows up. Got it.” Good. So, I can find you anywhere, right?
Liam’s hands shook as he pulled away. Best not think about that now. Not until he taught Connor how to shield his mind from Natalie, who, after tossing the dishes in the dishwasher, smiled brightly at them both. “Well, I’m heading out shopping. I’ll see you guys for dinner!” It was stunning how fast she was gone, leaving Liam alone with Connor.
Liam’s cheeks were red. “Movie?” Movies were safe right?
Not hardly. Especially not when they skipped out on the end of I Am Legend to go back to Liam and Nat’s place. Well, it’d only be Liam and Nat’s place for a couple more days. Then their parents would come home from their trip, and Liam would have some favors to ask. Namely, if Connor could keep staying with them. He didn’t expect a no. But right then, he wasn’t thinking about that. He was thinking about Connor’s mouth on his, kissing him like there was no tomorrow. He was as hard as he could ever remember being, despite – or maybe because of – the illicit hand-jobs that had gone on in the theater. The memory of Connor’s hands on him, of his hands on Connor set him moaning, kissing him back with a fierce passion.
Clothes were strewn across Liam’s floor as they tipped naked into bed, Liam atop Connor. He didn’t have to say he’d never been with another guy before. They were in each other’s heads. Connor knew, and they were both prepared. Liam had condoms; Connor had lube. There was a moment devoid of words, full of heavy breathing, crinkling packets, and the lewd sound of the lubrication coating Liam’s fingers.
Connor showed him how. One finger first, sliding in slow, inch by inch, deeper and deeper, hooking slightly, twisting and curving until by pure accident, it brushed against a bundle of nerves. Muscles clenched Liam’s finger immediately, and Connor’s breath caught, then shuddered out. Liam’s rushed out in a pant against Connor’s neck and he rubbed the spot again. Anything to make Connor make that sound again, that half-moan, half-plea that was perfection in Liam’s ears.
He slid in a second finger when Connor breathily asked him to, scissoring them like he should, stretching the muscles around them. And then he went looking for that spot again, deliberately. The sound was almost a whine this time. “You keep that up and – ngh – I swear I’ll come right fucking now.” Connor’s eyes were lust-dark. Liam hadn’t ever wanted anyone so badly.
He’d been with girls before. Some of them had been virgins. That didn’t prepare him for this, the mind-numbing, blinding tightness that surrounded him as he slowly pressed in. Connor’s legs went up around his waist, and Liam’s hands tightened on slim hips. He couldn’t breathe, didn’t try, not until he was fully sheathed and their breaths mingled. They were pressed so close, Liam could swear their heartbeats were one.
And then Connor started moving and all thought ceased. It was rhythm, passion, instinct now, and Liam knew it. He knew how to match Connor stroke for stroke, touch for touch, moan for moan. He knew how to tilt hips and legs up, to drive deeper. He didn’t know how to find that perfect angle, that made every thrust drive right against the most sensitive part of Connor, but he did it anyway. And, oh, the sounds they made when they came, within moments of each other. That was the real perfection, and so was coming back down, tangled in each other’s arms, breathing each other’s breaths.
So maybe Liam hadn’t ever been interested in guys before. The right one just hadn’t come along yet.
— February 14th, 2008 —
“Why are you in such a shitty mood, Connor?” Liam was irritated. They’d both been snippy all day really, and the calm they usually achieved sharing cigarettes between classes hadn’t done the trick. Liam was horny as hell, and everything Connor said and did was both aggravating him and making him oddly harder.
Liam was having the same effect on Connor. “Nothing. Doesn’t matter. Just leave it alone.” Connor shoved his hair out of his face, a bit viciously. He glowered at a couple who passed, a girl with balloons and flowers, giggling madly next to her boyfriend. The couple glanced over at them, and laughed as they walked away.
Liam could feel his own power gathering inside Connor, and he knew the illusion Connor had put up shortened the staircase by two steps. Not enough to hurt someone, but enough to make both the girl and her boyfriend fall when they got to the bottom. Liam grabbed Connor’s tie. “Why the hell’d you do that?”
There was silence from Connor, but the thoughts in his head spoke volumes. It was muddled, but Liam could pick through it by now; he was used to it in there. Silence hung heavily between them, and Liam said after a while, “I hadn’t thought about it that way. God, people really give you a lot of shit for it, don’t they?” As he spoke, one hand lifted, slid through pink hair. “You should have said something.”
“Why?” Connor asked, even as his eyes slipped a bit closed, face leaning into Liam’s hand. “What would it accomplish to say ‘Hey, I hate Valentine’s Day because people never let up about my hair’?”
“Because I like your hair. You know that. I don’t care what people think about it. I liked it more when I found out it was real. I love it.” Pause. “I love you, you moron.”
The silence deepened, but this time it was full of surprise, confusion, and amusement. Connor stared at Liam. “Well, gee, thanks,” he said, his tone dry and teasing. “That was just about the sweetest damn insult I’ve ever–”
“Shut up a minute, that’s not how I meant to say that.” Liam’s face was red. “You know I like you. A lot. And I don’t care if it’s sappy or too soon or any kind of shit like that. I don’t care that I’m saying it on Valentine’s Day, and I don’t care that anyone could hear me right now. I love you, Connor, all right?”
Connor’s mouth curved and he took Liam’s own tie in his hand. “See, there’s that charming thing you do again.” Blue eyes searched gold. “…And I love you too.” It gave him a thrill to say it, to hear it. He knew he’d been falling fast for Liam; he just hadn’t realized how far.
Liam grinned. “Yeah? Well… yeah, good. So stop worrying about what day it is or what those jerks say or– ”
“Liam? Clichéd as it sounds? Just shut up and kiss me.”