A/N: I claim no ownership of "Days of Our Lives" property.

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Sonny Kiriakis is enjoying the day as he strolls across campus to his studio apartment. "I am so ready to start college. Classes may not start until next week, but maybe I can make a couple of friends before it starts."

He slows his pace as he notices two men and a woman standing in an outdoor conversation area. One man looks ready to fight the other.

"I'll teach you about trying to pick up my girlfriend!" He swings and makes contact with the other guy's stomach who face plants. The jerk grabs the woman by the elbow and hauls her off.

Sonny goes to the hurt man and helps him up. The young, blond man looks up as he rises and makes eye contact with Sonny's. Sonny is unable to breathe for a moment. "He has the most beautiful blue eyes . . . and the rest of him isn't bad either."

"Are you going to be all right? Your nose is bleeding. You should have that checked."

"No, I'm all right. I'll fix myself up at my dorm. Thank you, though."

Sonny sets his jaw in determination while he eyes reflect compassion. "The dorms are all on the other side of campus. My place is just over there. Let's get you over to my apartment."

"O-Okay. My name is Will, by the way."

"I'm Sonny." He smiles brightly.

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"Well, your face is clean and the bleeding has stopped, but your shirt is a mess. Let me put it in the washer. Take it off."

Will looks down at his shirt, shrugs, and pulls his arms from his sleeves. He's wearing a white, sleeveless undershirt that fits snugly over his ripped and trim body. He hands the soiled shirt to Sonny who has noticed Will's physique and is finding it difficult to look away. Sonny actually starts to lick his lips before pulling his lower lip into his mouth to chew on.

Will stands up and stretches to assess any other damage to his person. He sees Sonny's knees tremble slightly. "Sonny, would you happen to be gay?" he smirks and resumes his seat at Sonny's little kitchen table.

"Crap. I'm sorry for staring, Will, but you are an attractive man. And, yes, I'm gay. I hope I haven't offended you." He sinks into the other chair at the table.

"No, I'm not offended. I'm flattered. I came out to my family just before coming here. I am so ready to start dating."

"So . . . wait. You couldn't have been trying to pick up that girl."

"Right! I tried to explain that she was just talking to me, but he wasn't listening."

"It looked like she was just standing there. Didn't she say anything to her boyfriend?"

"No, and it even looked as if she were enjoying the whole confrontation."

They continue to chat a while, waiting for Will's shirt to be done.

"Do you know what you're going to major in, Will?"

"Yeah. I'm here on a full scholarship for writing. I'm going to study both creative writing and journalism with a little literature. How about you?"

"Thankfully, I tested out of a few gen. ed. requirements because of the progressive, private school I attended. I've gotten placement in an entrepreneurial program next year. I'm hoping to start a business while I'm doing that."

(((DING!)))

"Your shirt's done."

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It's a couple of weeks into the first semester, and while Will has thought of his new acquaintance, he hasn't had the time to drop in on him. And he never told Sonny what dorm he's in.

After doing some research, Will is exiting the library when he sees Sonny sitting on a bench across the street. A very familiar looking young woman has just sat down beside him. Looking around, Will spots the woman's boyfriend.

"Holy crap! This is a total set-up, and this time it's Sonny." He starts running.

Will reaches the bench just as the woman slaps Sonny for no damn reason. He's just steps ahead of the boyfriend.

Will grabs Sonny's hand and plants a kiss on his cheek. "There you are. I can't leave you anywhere." The woman is completely dumbfounded.

The boyfriend arrives, sees Will with Sonny and deflates. "You . . . again?" He trades looks with his girlfriend.

Will steps up to the guy. "I told you that I wasn't interested in her, but you wouldn't listen."

Sonny snaps a photo with his cell-phone. "I think the viewers of the campus website and campus security will be interested when I send them their pictures and make a report."

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Will is hanging out at Sonny's apartment. They've eaten lunch and are enjoying Sonny's coffee as they chat.

"I still can't believe they were doing that all over campus. It was like foreplay for them." Will leans forward to set his mug on the coffee table. They are sitting together on the small couch between the bed and the TV.

"I can't believe how many people have come forward now that I've made the initial report." Sonny gets up to take the coffee things to his galley kitchen.

Will follows. "Sonny, how long have you been out?"

"Oh. I told my parents I was gay when I was fifteen. You said that you just told your parents. Right?"

"Yeah. It was the last of a long line of insecurities I had to overcome."

They've returned to the couch and Sonny's brow furrows. "What do you mean, Will?"

Will grins sheepishly and runs a hand through his hair. "Okay. I was actually born and raised right here in Salem. I even went to Salem Elementary School. Living in a small town, everyone knows your family's problems. In my case, my parents' relationship was on-again, off-again and whoever got custody of me won that round." Will takes a couple of deep breaths and stares at his feet. "Each year in school, bigger kids would tease me about my parents just to try to make me cry. Which I usually did." Will sighs and looks so vulnerable that Sonny nearly moves to hug him. "In fourth grade, two kids had just managed to make me cry when another older kid made them stop." Will smiles broadly and his eyes glisten. "He was my hero and I stayed near him every time we were on the playground at the same time. He would smile at me when he saw me watching him play basketball. I hope I didn't make myself a pest to Jackson."

Sonny's mouth starts to gape as he leans back into the couch. Will's story triggers a distant memory.

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Sonny's flashback:

I step out to the playground after lunch and hear laughing and crying. I know immediately that the bullies in my class are after one of the younger kids.

Jackson hears, "Ha! Ha! Look at little Horton bawl. Hey, Will, my dad says if your dad was more of a man he could keep is wife at home."

"Well, my mom says your dad should try paying your mom to stay with him."

I run over to the boy and girl hovering over a little blond boy with tears streaming down his very red face. I give both the bigger kids a shove.

"Why don't you two make yourselves useful and jump off a bridge."

Dean looks back at me and says, "Aw, Jackson. We're just playing. Come on, Ivy. Let's play dodge-ball." Off they run.

I put my hand on Will's shoulder and ask him if he's okay. He looks at me with his huge blue eyes still swimming in tears.

"Th-Thank you, Jackson." he says softly.

Thereafter, every time I'm on the playground, that boy is right nearby. He seems to really like my after-school basketball games with my buddies. Will's always smiling at these games and I can't help smiling back.

TBC (?)-Your comments are welcome.