Be warned! This is Gene/Finny slash! I'm not sure how many people would bother reading "A Separate Peace" fanfiction, but there seem to be enough out there to make it worth writing. (Let's all review and prove it!) The book belongs, in its entireity, to John Knowles. The lyrics of the song "Upside Down" belong to the Barenaked Ladies, who are, in my own not-so- humble opinion, the best band in the English language. The rest of the fic is mine, though. I hope y'all like it, and if you do, please review!

/\ Upside Down \/

"Uuuuuugh! What in the hell are you doing?"

"Mmmmmm..." my best friend whimpered apologetically. I unwrapped his arms from around my waist and pushed him roughly away. "Oh God, Gene," he stammered, "I didn't mean to, I guess I just got carried away..."

"Damn right you got carried away."

"Look, I'm sorry. Haven't I told you that enough already? Besides, you can't tell me you've never wanted to do that, or at least thought about it."

"Me? Think about kissing you? Are you nuts?" I screamed. My hands gestured violently in I knew not what manner, trying desperately to convincingly deny his accusation... to myself. I'd never... It wasn't... And if it was, then I certainly didn't want it to be... so deny it I did. Finny's head lowered sadly, the golden strands of his hair shimmering in the twilight. The full moon above illuminated both our features clearly as we lay, now disturbed and uncomfortable, on the beach. "Is this why you dragged me here, even though I have a Trig test tomorrow? To... to..." I couldn't even say the word.

"Yeah, well, kissing you wasn't my explicit purpose, but when I told you that you're my best friend and I care about you more than anyone else... I figured you knew what I meant! What else could I mean? And then, you answered me. You told me that I was the one you cared about most too, and I thought you were saying you loved me back. It just seemed right, and I thought you wouldn't mind, and... I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Deny, bid my reflexes. Deny. Deny... The irony in my voice was absolutely biting. "Yeah, you're sorry. Bull Shit."

I'm not surprised it's come to thi
Sooner or later there must be another's kiss
Behind that kiss the promise of a life of bliss
Yeah, great-- I won't be taking the bait
I'd rather drown
And I will not turn my whole life upside down

"What made you think I'd like it anyway? What made you think I meant it like that, what I said?" More importantly, what would everyone think if our year's top student and the school's best athlete... I quickly shook those thoughts from my head. "I'm... I'm..."

"I know." He looked so hurt, not by me but because he couldn't believe himself. He was blaming himself for his own stupidity, and he was ashamed of it. He should be, making us both feel like this. Making me feel like this...

You'll recall that this was my sarcastic summer. Well, this was the moment I said perhaps the cruellest thing I've ever done. "No," I replied, "you obviously don't know. What you don't seem to realize is that... not everyone else is a fucking queer like you!" I regretted the words as soon as they left my lips, but I could not take them back. The look on Finny's face was the most painful thing I have ever seen. Even to watch him at that moment ripped my heart to shreds. Not that I seemed at that point in time to have one.

"I'm sorry, Gene. I'd just hoped..." He began to cry. "Well, I'd hoped we could at least still be friends. But-" he stammered, tears now flowing freely down his face, "but I guess that'll never happen. After all, you're Gene Forrester, you have a reputation to protect. You can't afford to be friends with a... with a queer." He got up, gathering his clothes as he did so. Then he looked up, wiping his tear-stained face on the back of his right hand. "I'll go now. Goodbye, Gene... my love."

Imagine everything you've done
Under a microscope on view for everyone
And if the king of circumspection's here
He's come in vain-- I won't be sharing the blame
I'll wear the crown
And I will not turn my whole life upside down

Huh? How had he known my thoughts? In a way it almost angered me. Eventually, I could no longer handle it. I was shocked that Phineas could see right through me, and when he put it that way everything was finally in perspective. It was beyond obvious that I was being totally ridiculous, but how could I apologize? And could I possibly admit to myself that these things I felt for Finny weren't completely heterosexual? By God, I could try.

Okay, I told myself. You like Phineas? -Yeah. At least as a friend.- You liked that kiss? -Actually... yes.- I blushed. -A lot.- You like Finny? -Definitely.- In the same way he likes you? -...I think so. Yes, I think I do.- Sure, that was easy. Now I just had to tell these things to him. "Um, Finny?" He kept walking. "Finny!" He walked on. "PHINEAS!"

With Finny up for grabs I felt I had nothing else to lose. So I yelled piteously. "Finny, no! Don't go. I didn't mean it either, don't leave me now. Phineas..." A teardrop fell onto the back of my hand. When had I begun to cry? And why was I so moved when he'd said, "Gene... my love."? "Finny, PLEASE!" I didn't care what other people thought anymore. I only wanted to understand this feeling I'd just realized had been growing in my chest since the first day I met Phineas. I felt somehow that if I screwed up this time I'd never get another chance. A chance for what, I didn't know... but, with Finny by my side, I was willing to find out. I couldn't let him go. "Come Back," I pleaded, "Come back..."

Nothing's good enough for me
To shake me from complacency
I've made my mind up and I'll never be

The kind of man to make a choice
For if I hold my tongue I'll never lose my voice
If each attempted act of sabotage destroys all hope
I won't be needing the rope--I'm gagged and bound
And I will not turn my whole world upside down

Finally he turned around, fixing me with a haunting green stare. "What do you want now?"

I gulped; I knew it was now or never. "Finny, I just want... I want a chance. A chance to be with you. A chance for me to be yours and you to be mine. Now I've realized, and... Phineas, I love you too."

Anyone else would've thought I was joking, but Finny alone knew I was serious. A smile spread across his features like the dawn now rising across the water, both being made, if possible, more beautiful. "Oh Gene," he cried, "Gene, Gene." Dropping all his things, he ran towards me and grabbed me , holding me in a warm embrace. We kissed again, this time more passionately. Both our tongues came into play, and by the time we parted for breath, my entire body was filled with the warmth and love that was Phineas. We sat together watching the sunrise, before taking a final short swim together and heading home.

And if a genie was set free
And by the laws of things like that, he's indebted to me
I'd bury my three wishes deep down in the ground
So they will not turn my whole world upside down

Nothing's good enough for me
To shake me from complacency
I've made my mind up-- I won't make a sound
And I will not turn my whole world upside down

We mounted our bicycles and rode back to school. As we left for our respective classes, he kissed me lightly. "For good luck on your Trig test," he whispered, laughing softly as my face flushed, "Gene... my love."

And I realized that even when I didn't have the courage to turn my world upside down... Finny would always be there to do it for me.

No, I will not turn my whole world upside down…