Ok, this is my first once and Again fic.

I never used to watch the show; I don't think I even knew it existed.

But just recently, the first season has aired on channel 7, at 2:00 in the arvo- and me being a HUGE Shane West fan, I just had to watch it for the eye candy (plus its an awesome show)!

So…. The most recent ep was the season one finale, right before the kids meet- but I have read enough fics to gather that Lily and Rick eventually marry, Eli and Grace have some sexual tension (and a kiss?)- And Jessie is a lesbian with a chick called Katie (and she was anorexic for a while)?

Seeing character's names in big letters (ELI) means the black and white backdrop when a character speaks about what they are feeling.


"Did you know that Cleopatra married her brother?" Grace said, while she watched her mother slave away at a hot stove.

Lily shook her head as she poured the boiling water into the sink "wasn't that an arranged marriage?" she asked, not turning around to look at her daughter "and didn't she end up murdering him?" she added.

Grace looked down at the table, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear "umm, yeah maybe" she said humbly.

Suddenly the kitchen door burst open and Rick stepped in, brief case in hand, and a tired face plastered on.

"Hey you!" Lily said, putting the pot into the sink and walking over to embrace him.

"Mmmm" Rick mumbled something into her ear and then realized that Grace was sitting at the kitchen bench "Hey Gracey!" he said, putting one arm around Lily's shoulders and kissing her on the head.

"Hey" Grace said, looking up with a half smile.

"Grace, dinner won't be for a little while, so why don't you go and finish you're homework?" Lily said, smiling at her daughter.

Grace could take a hint- she knew that Rick and Lily, between sharing a house with 4 kids and working full time jobs- didn't have much time for each other, and they salvaged every moment they spent together.

Grace nodded, and slid off the chair.


"Yeah? Oh I know!" Grace walked into the living room, and saw Jessie sprawled out on the couch, the phone glued to her ear- she must be talking to Katie, Grace suspected.

Jessie let out a laugh "No way! You're kidding!" she squealed, not even noticing Grace staring at her.

Jessie peered over at the doorway where Grace was standing and smiled at her "do you need to use the phone?" she asked.

"Oh no! I have homework" Grace said, returning the smile, and she turned to walk up stairs.

Zoë came running down, and almost knocked Grace over.

"Watch it!" Grace said firmly when she realized Zoë wasn't looking what was in front of her, and was instead admiring a picture she'd just drawn.

"Sorry" she muttered as she walked past, smiling at her own creativity.

Grace shook her head, and continued the climb to her room.

But she stopped when she was only a few steps away from the top, turning around and looking down at where she had just come from- she couldn't help but wonder what Eli was up to.

Visiting her big brother would be more fun than going back to her history studies on Egypt.

Grace smiled to herself and began walking down the stairs again, this time heading towards the garage.


She could hear the rhythmic sounds of Eli's guitar as she approached his door- she hesitated before knocking; not wanting to interrupt his practice, but as she turned around to leave, she accidentally stumbled over Zoë's bike; which she'd stuffed into the corner when Lily had yelled at her the day before.

"Who's there?" Eli called out, and Grace cursed the bike, turning around to open the door.

"Just me" she said, opening it slightly and poking her head in to see Eli, in his green t-shirt and black chords, sitting at the base of his bed, guitar resting in his hands.

"Oh, hey" he said, adjusting his hold on the guitar.

"I'm sorry, your practicing-" Grace began, but Eli cut her off.

"No, it's fine- did you want something?" he asked, leaning the guitar against his bed.

Grace let herself in, and shut the door behind her, suddenly feeling awkward, as she didn't infact have anything to say.

GRACE "it's nice having a big brother. That whole protective older sibling thing, that was always my duty, but now I have someone who cares that way about me too. It's nice - safe"

"What song were you playing?" she asked, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her jeans.

Eli smiled and looked over at his guitar "just working on a new song" he said, looking back over at Grace "currently untitled" he added.

She smiled, glad that an opportunity for conversation had presented itself.

She walked towards him "I'd love to hear it" she said, smiling "it sounded really good" she added.

Eli smiled at her, "maybe when it's finished" he said, and Grace began to feel awkward again.

"So, what did you want?" Eli asked, noticing she'd become uncomfortable.

Grace looked around the room, examining the posters on the walls "nothing really" she said, focussing back on Eli "just didn't feel like doing homework- and everyone else is busy" she began "and so are you, so I'll leave you alone-" she said, and turned to walk out the door.

Eli sighed, "it's fine," he said, and Grace stopped and turned to look at him "do you wanna listen to music or something?" he asked, glancing over at his c.d. rack.

Grace nodded and walked back toward his bed, while Eli got up and rummaged through his collection; she took a seat on the floor, bringing her legs up to her chin and resting her head.

Eli pulled out c.d's and examined them, while Grace sat on the floor watching him.

GRACE "Yes, I did like Eli. But he's my step brother now- and I can't think of him in that way……ever again!"

Eli crouched down as he went through his collection, his back to Grace, she found herself staring at him.

Examining his tanned, muscular arms; and then her eyes wandered down to his butt, looking at the firm curve.

Suddenly Eli shot back up and turned around to look at Grace, and smiled when he saw her mouth ajar and her eyes firmly fixed on his- lower parts.

She shot her head back, looking straight in front of her as though nothing had happened, and he could see her face turning slightly red.

He smiled as he turned around again to put his 'Foo Fighters' c.d into his stereo, knowing exactly what she was staring at, and probably what she was thinking.

ELI "I suspected that Grace had a crush on me. I mean, she kissed me! And though we never fully discussed the situation, she knows nothing could happen between us- not now anyway!

I mean- not that I wanted anything to happen (scratches his head nervously)!"

"Cool song" Grace said, as Eli sat himself back down on the bed, facing her.

"Yeah well, they're a pretty cool band" Eli replied.

They both avoided eye contact, Grace examining the posters on his walls and Eli examining his bed sheet.

"So-" they both said at the same time, and they silenced themselves again.

"You wanna say something?" Eli asked after a moment, looking up to meet her face but noticing, instead, the two swellings on Grace's chest, which were nicely outlined by the red blouse she was wearing.

Grace looked into his eyes, those eyes- she thought, she could lose herself within them; and she didn't even notice that 'those eyes' were looking anywhere but her face.

"Oh no, you go first" she said, smiling.

Eli nodded his head "how are things at school?" he asked, and Grace felt her heart sink as she realized this would be another robotic conversation- the only type of conversation she and Eli ever had.

"Fine, just school" she said, shrugging her shoulders.

Eli looked away, not sure of what else he could say to her.

"Have you ever been in love?"- Grace blurted it out without even completely realizing what she'd said. It was just that, as she looked at Eli, the thought had crossed her mind, and was now out in the open.

Eli let out a chuckle, amused at her 'out of nowhere' question, and rubbed his brow "Err- I don't know" he said "love is a pretty strong word," he added, looking at her curiously.

Grace tried very hard to suppress what she wanted to say- and as he stared at her, with those wonderful eyes, she almost blurted it out, but swallowed the words back instead.

"I've been infatuated with girls," Eli said, noticing that Grace was blushing slightly.

And as he looked at her soft skin turn a light pink, he suddenly felt the urge to tell her something- something he knew he could never take back once he'd said it. So with all his might he kept it locked in his mouth, though it was hard to resist blurting it out.

Grace nodded, flashes of Barbie doll, brain dead, cheerleaders- (Eli's ex girlfriends she'd seen him with) came into her head, and she thought, that for a second- she felt jealousy?

Grace suddenly felt Eli's eyes on her; all she could do was look back at him.

"What about you?" he asked, finally, and Grace smiled to herself.

"Umm, unrequited love" she said, softly; and when she looked up to meet his eyes again, she saw he had a solemn expression.

And suddenly they found themselves drowning in silence again.

"Grace-" Eli said quietly, breaking the stillness.

Grace looked up at him, but he did not bring his eyes to look into her face; "You know that we can't-" he began, not wanting to embarrass her or make her feel uncomfortable.

But Grace cut him off before he could ease the words out; "Eli, I didn't mean-" she began, fidgeting as she sat on the ground "oh god, I didn't mean you," she said, unconvincingly.

Eli looked up at her, she was trying to break into a smile, but he could see that her eyes were saying something completely different.

"I know- I just thought you should know-" he began, not wanting to push the dagger in further.

Grace rose to her feet, she felt suffocated in this room all of a sudden, and she needed to be away from him "I have homework I need to finish" she said, and turned and walked out the door.

But just as she reached for the handle, the door swung open, and Lily stood in front of her.

"Hey-" she said, looking down at Grace and then over at Eli "what were-" she began, but Grace cut her off; "dinner? Good! I'm starving!" she said, and bolted past her mother who was still standing in the doorway.

Lily looked over at Eli, who simply shrugged as he stood up, and walked towards her "I don't know" he said, walking past her.