Title:: The Motions

Author:: Lokaia

Rating:: R for language

Summary:: A glance backwards. A present for Teki, written quickly. Hope you all enjoy.

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Red, orange, yellow. He passed his fingers over the flame quickly at first, then slower, trying to figure out how long it would take before he was actually burned.

"Are you trying to look dangerous?" He spared a glance at his schoolmate, leaning against the wall beside him. "Because it's not working."

"Who said anything about trying?" he replied, baring his teeth in what could be translated as a grin. His hand slowed over the flame. "Think you could do it?" His friend simply glared at him with a tired expression. "Well?" he urged. "Would you?"

"Will I stick my hand over an open flame because you said so?" The boy rolled his eyes and looked away. "You're an idiot, John."

"Hmm." John clicked the lighter on and off thoughtfully for a few moments.

A strained silence emanated from the other boy. Throughout it, John continued to click the lighter.

Click. Click. Click. Cli--

"Gimme that." The boy snatched the lighter from his friend. He glanced at the bright flame for a second before quickly brushing his hand across it. With a slight smile of triumph, he held the lighter back out. "There."

John stared at him. "You're kidding, right?" At the other boy's blank look, John sighed. "Here," he ordered, grabbing the boy's wrist and using him as leverage to push from the wall. He took hold of the hand that still held the lighter, using the thumb to force the flame to appear. "Like this," John instructed, and held his own hand over the flame.

The boy watched as the flames leapt to reach the flesh of his friend's palm. John hardly even winced. After a few moments, John removed his hand and gestured. "Your turn," he said.

The boy looked at the lighter and the reddening spot on John's hand warily. "What's the point of this?" he demanded.

John smiled. "I knew it." He pocketed the lighter and turned away.

"Knew what?" The boy's toned sounded somewhere between annoyed and exasperated.

"Knew you'd try to get out of it," John replied. He turned around, walking backwards down the hallway and keeping eye contact. "You always do."

"I 'always do' nothing," the boy replied, following John's path with a frown. "It was a stupid game--"

"If you don't want to do it, don't do it," John interrupted, frowning. "But don't make excuses. The whole point of life is to never have to say you're sorry."

The boy tried to process that, watching John step over a discarded briefcase in the middle of the hall. "What does that mean? Never make mistakes?"

"Not at all," John replied with an air of teaching a special-ed class. "Mistakes make up life."

"Then what are you trying to say?"

John bared his teeth in a fierce grin again. "Make as many mistakes as you like. Just never make any you regret."

The boy rolled his eyes. "I don't think I'll ever really regret not burning my hand."

John stopped walking so quickly, the boy nearly ran into him. John's expression was angry, his hands balled into fists. At a full three inches taller than him John's intimidation pose was just that—intimidating. "You're not getting it," John spat. "It's not about the lighter! It's about never doing anything you'll feel you have to apologize for! Have you *ever* done something like that?"

The boy met eyes that were full of unexpected anger and struggled not to step back. "Of course I have. I just don't see why the lighter--"

"*Damn* the lighter!" John raged. He reached out and latched onto the boy's wrist, simultaneously pulling out the lighter.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" the boy cried, struggling to pull away.

Without another word, John pressed him against the nearest wall with his shoulder and clicked the lighter. Holding the boy's wrist in one hand, he brought the lighter directly beneath it.

The boy felt the heat spread across his closed fist, heating his fingers, and pushed against John's chest with his free hand. "Dammit, John, let me *go*, I get it!"

John didn't release the other boy until his knuckles shone red against his pale skin. And when he did, the boy cradled his injured hand against his stomach and looked at his friend in astonishment. "What the *fuck* was that for?!"

"I was teaching you a lesson," John replied calmly, pocketing the lighter again.

"A lesson about *what*?! How to treat second-degree burns?!"

"No." John stepped in close, causing the boy to reflexively try to step back. However, since his back was against the wall, he didn't get very far. "I told you. Always do things you won't apologize for." John held the injured hand up to the light, inspecting it. "I won't apologize for this. And you're fine. Just run down to the med office later."

The boy stared at his friend, mouth hanging open in astonishment. "You burned me. You *fucking* burned me!"

"And I don't regret it." John met his friend's eyes cooly, blankly. "That's the lesson. Never do anything you'll be sorry for."

"You're insane." It came out as a whisper, so he repeated himself, growing angry. "You're insane."

"Insanity is in the eye of the beholder, or some other trite bullshit like that," John replied offhandedly. "And if I was that out of it, would you still be here?"

The boy narrowed his eyes, fighting to continue meeting John's gaze. "Who said I was staying?"

John laughed. "You'll stay. You always stay."

"Maybe I feel sorry for you," came the reply in an angry growl.

"Sorry for me?" John smiled. "Maybe it isn't me who's filled with trite bullshit." He pressed in close to the boy again. "You'll stay because that's what you do. You wouldn't know what to do without me." He leaned in so close that all the boy could see were his eyes. "You'll stay because you need me."

Staring at those black orbs, alive with a fearful intensity, the boy found himself unable to lie. "Maybe I need you," he said quietly. "But you need me too."

"For what?" Though John's voice had taken on a quiet, almost gentle tone, it only made the boy more uncomfortable. "As my sidekick? My buddy? For sex?" He smiled then, a movement felt rather than seen. "Maybe you're right. But the point is," and here, he lowered his voice to a hushed whisper, "the point is.. *you* can be replaced."

With that, John closed the distance between them, planting his lips firmly onto the other's. The smaller boy moved to push him away and found that John already had a firm hold on his wrists, his body pinning his to the wall.

It wasn't the first time he had been kissed by John, and he supposed it wouldn't be his last either. He suspected this because the moment John released his wrists, instead of taking the opportunity to push the other boy away, his hands clutched at his shoulders. And as John Reaver's hands moved from his hips downwards, Seth Goddard realized this wasn't the first time they had gone through these motions. And he knew it wouldn't be the last.