Title: Proposition (1/1)
Fandom: Big Wolf on Campus:
Summary: "Tommy. Tommy, I think he just propositioned me!"
Rating: PG13. Not slash, but _slashy_.
Distribution: My site and those who ask.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I am in no way affiliated with the show. No profit is being made from this fan work. No harm is intended.
Date: March 20-21, 2003.
Note: A silly, fluffy, _plotless_ fic to help clear out the angst backlog. Does it make sense? No! Do I care? Not really!
"Hey! Hey, Frea--Dingle!"
Merton froze: stretched out on his toes, arm extended towards the top shelf of his locker. He took a deep breath before looking over his shoulder. Merton recognized the other boy, although he couldn't think of a name. Most of Tommy's football buddies tended to blur together in Merton's mind: largely unimportant with a check or two in the danger! danger! column of Merton's mental list of the Pleasantville High's population.
The other boy was approaching with the same swagger that most males at the top of Pleasantville High's upper echelon affected. Merton's eyes darted around as he catalogued his situation. Empty hallway--not good. Casual but intent stride--open to interpretation. Lack of outright scorn in the football player's voice--promising; at least Merton _hoped_ so. While Tommy had taken a stand against those teammates who enjoyed beating on Merton, some of them still indulged in an occasional spot of verbal abuse.
Merton shook himself out of his startled pose and was readjusting the cuff of his shirt when the other boy reached him. Tall, dark-haired and brown eyed--Trevor? John? Alan?--the boy leaned against the locker neighbouring Merton's. He tucked his hands into his coat pockets and cocked his head, looking at Merton from beneath lowered lashes.
"--to what do I owe the--pleasure of your company?" Merton asked with patently false cheer. Casual, Merton thought, casual, and clanged his locker door shut with a touch more force than he'd intended. No use inviting trouble by leaving the locker open--he knew how much some people enjoyed forcibly introducing him to its contents.
"Well. . . I've been thinking," Rick said slowly.
Merton's lips parted before his teeth snapped back together. He managed to lift his eyebrows into inquiring arches. He hoped that it wasn't _too_ obvious that he was biting his tongue against a less than friendly comment.
"I figured that you can't be _that_ bad, seeing as Tommy hangs around with you and all," Rick continued, seemingly oblivious to Merton's earlier reaction. His jacket fell open as Rick shifted, his hips titling slightly as he set more of his weight against the locker at his back.
"Uh _huh_," Merton drew out doubtfully. "I've obviously fallen into some sort of parallel dimension: cool!" He paused and looked at Rick as he would a particularly dangerous animal. "Not so cool: weird jock bonding moment."
"Dingle," Rick huffed, "I'm trying to be nice, okay?"
Nice. Got it.
"Nice? To me?"
Or maybe not.
"Yeah. Nice. Me to you," Rick said. He slid half-a-step closer to Merton. His expression was too-earnest to be real: it was the kind of face regularly practiced in front of a mirror. "I know that Tommy's been spending a lot of time with his new girl. I thought you might be able to use a new friend. We could be--friends, don't you think?"
Merton gaped. Merton stared. Merton checked the hallway for gnomes because this _had_ to be some sort of nightmare. There was no parallel dimension out there twisted enough to contain this particular moment, Merton thought with a tinge of hysteria.
"Sure," Merton squawked. He smiled awkwardly. Maybe this wasn't what he thought it was. Really, it wasn't as if Merton had much experience being one of the guys--and Rick's hand had made its way to the collar of Merton's shirt. Guys rubbed other guys' shirts all the time, didn't they? "We'll set up a game of Scrabble: wholesome family fun! Games involving a post-primary school vocabulary not to your taste? How about Battleship?"
"Not quite what I had in mind, Dingle," Rick said, mouth quirking.
"You're telling me that there's more to life than Battleship?" Merton snickered uneasily; damn his undeniable good looks! "Really, Rick, I'm flattered and all, but," Merton put on his own earnest face and spread his hands helplessly, "we're from two vastly different worlds. I am a student of the Dark Arts, purveyor of ancient mysteries and--if I do say so myself--a snazzy dresser. You're, well, not."
Rick took a step back and held his arms out to his sides in challenge. "You're telling me this," he rolled his shoulders in emphasis, "isn't a snazzy getup?"
Merton pursed his lips thoughtfully. "It's the shirt. It interrupts the flow of--no! no!" Merton shook his head roughly: this was neither the time nor place for fashion tips. He needed to find a way to extract himself from this situation gracefully and with Rick's pride intact. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather be beating me up right now?"
_Good one_, Merton's inner voice sneered.
"Nice, Dingle--remember?" Rick said.
"Right," Merton said morosely, "nice."
Merton had an amazingly complex vocal range. Tommy heard what he had privately termed Uneasy Snigger Number Two before he rounded the corner. Uneasy Snigger Number Two rarely appeared during life-threatening situations, so Tommy permitted himself an eye-roll: he couldn't leave Merton alone for minutes without the other boy getting into some sort of trouble. Wolf or not, being Merton's friend could be exhausting.
Tommy couldn't help but grin when he caught sight of Merton and Rick: Uneasy Snigger Number Two neatly explained. He knew that Merton was uncomfortable around the guys, but Tommy had always hoped that his best friend would one day be accepted by them. "Hey, Merton! Rick!" Tommy called.
Merton responded with his Thank The Gods, I'm Saved! Yelp: "Tommy!"
Some of Tommy's good cheer faded when he noted how wild Merton's eyes looked. After all the monsters they had taken out, it was incredible that Merton could still be unnerved by a (second-rate) football player. Tommy made sure to slide in front of Merton, his shoulder blocking the two other boys slightly. Best to nip Merton's hysteria in the bud, Tommy decided.
"Tommy," Rick nodded. He cast a quick glance at his bulky watch and frowned. "Damn it--I've gotta be going."
"Sure," Tommy said easily. "See you tomorrow."
Merton clung to the arm of Tommy's jacket as he watched Rick lope down the hall. Rick had barely slid out from view when Merton emitted a squeak. Tommy furrowed his brows: it wasn't his I'm In So Much Trouble squeak or his Me? You're Talking to _Me_? one. And maybe he'd been making assumptions, but Tommy had figured that he'd heard just about every possible squeak, squawk, squeal, snigger, snicker and yelp Merton had to offer.
"Tommy," Merton said, "Tommy, I think he just propositioned me!"
Well, that explained things. Wait, no, forget that: "huh?"
Merton was all but vibrating in place when Tommy turned to face him. "Made a pass," Merton said in high, drawn out tone that was meant to inform anyone within hearing range that he was being Ever So Patient. "Hit on me, if you prefer. Rick is hot for one Merton J. Dingle--" Merton paused long enough for a modest smile, "not, I suppose that I could _blame_ him."
Tommy might not have been a master of the vocal range as was Merton, but he'd mastered a few expressions over the years. He settled on good-natured incredulity and thumped Merton on the shoulder. "Rick was just being friendly, Merton. It's about time that the guys realized how great you are." Tommy paused and his voice was slightly disappointed when he continued: "I thought you'd be relieved to finally be accepted."
"Oh, he was being friendly all right," Merton said darkly. He clutched at Tommy's shoulders. "He said that he wanted to be friends, Tommy: _friends_!"
"The problem being?" Leave it to Merton to blow a simple conversation way out of proportion, Tommy thought. He patted at one of Merton's white-knuckled hands before peeling them off his shoulders.
Merton gasped. "Did you not _hear_ my flawlessly rendered imitation of Rick's words? He said, and I'm quoting, here: 'We could be--friends, don't you think?'" Merton started up at Tommy. "Just _try_ to tell me that line isn't oozing with innuendo."
"It's not," Tommy said firmly.
Merton ignored him. "Tommy. Tommy, track with me here, will you? Rick obviously thinks that it's not my battleship you're interested in." He looked at Tommy expectantly and scowled when Tommy shrugged his confusion. "He think that you're enjoying some of that famed Dingle magic." Another expectant pause. "For God's sake, Tommy! He thinks that we're dating!"
Huh, Tommy thought. That just might explain a few of those odd questions Rick had been asking him recently. Tommy had hardly nodded his satisfaction at a mystery solved when his eyes rounded. "Wait just a minute! Rick's putting the moves on my boyfriend?!"
Merton sighed. He peeked out from behind his fingers long seconds later. "I'm not your boyfriend, Tommy."
Tommy scowled. "That's not the point, Merton. Rick thinks that you are."
"Rick thinks that you ditched me for Lily," Merton said. He sniffed disdainfully. "As if even you'd be foolish enough to dump an near perfect specimen of manhood for--" Merton blinked. Cleared his throat. "Never mind _that_."
Tommy didn't, as he'd hardly been listening to Merton to begin with. "I can't believe him!" Tommy muttered. He glared at the empty hallway and slung an arm around Merton's shoulders. "Don't worry, buddy--I'll straighten everything out." Arm still hooked around Merton, Tommy led his eagerly nodding friend down the hall.
Merton beamed at Tommy. "Good! Good!" He stumbled to a stop against Tommy. "Wait! No! You have a _plan_?"
Tommy might have been insulted by the horror in Merton's voice if he hadn't been busy with thoughts of the thorough talking-to he'd be giving Rick. "Yes," Tommy said, "I have a plan."
"Maybe Rick's not so bad," Merton sighed. "He does have nice eyes."
Hmpff. Nice eyes! Maybe it was time to rethink that whole Merton and football team bonding idea, Tommy decided.
"I'll pretend that I didn't hear you say that," Tommy said and firmly led Merton from the school.