Rating: PG-13, just to be safe
People say that when you're young, you can't know what love is. You haven't lived enough to realize the depths, the bredth, the iessence/i of love. That at such an early point in your life, the only love you could possibly have would be to your family.
Except that, at sixteen, Seth Goddard isn't too fond of his family either.
But he's fond of John. He doesn't say it aloud, but he wonders often enough if it's love. If he's only supposed to love his family, but hates them more than he likes them, how can he equate the emotion he feels for them with the ones he feels for the other boy?
Except that... sometimes he can.
Sometimes, when he's angry, Seth can find the parallels. The way his brother fought with him is a lot like the way John will fight: quick and bloodthirsty and enraged, all in a single moment. The way his father screamed at him is a lot like the way John will scream at hiim: sudden and unexplained and frightening, without warning. The way his mother laughed at him is a lot like the way John will laugh: quiet and grinning and strange, as if he's laughing more at Seth than at his words.
Sometimes there are no parallels.
When they're walking down a hallway to class (when John decides he feels like going to class) and he's grabbed and hauled into a utility closet, Seth can't remember anything like that. When he's thrown up again a wall, but a hand cushions the blow between his head and the wall, there is no memory to flash back to. And when lips cover his in a kiss that seems as though it might call his very soul from his lips, there is no feeling of deja vu, or having been here before.
When academy uniforms litter the floor of the closet like a patchworked blanket of shades of gray, after awhile, he can find the memories that match. When hands map out his body, sometimes gentle and mostly rough, he will have a flash of recognition. When his body heats and he calls for the other, listens to a breathless laugh that answers his pleas, he finds the memories that elude him.
He remembers all the times he and John came to class late. He remembers John's confidant smile, the looks he received for his own heated face. He remembers crisp uniforms showing no sign of their stay on a closet floor because, as John said, they were just that good. He remembers being unable to focus on anything said in the classes just after these excursions, because John was next to him, and a hand was on his thigh under the desk.
He is too young to love, to know even what it is to love. But he knows what he feels for John and what he feels for his family are not the same. Leaving his family behind for the Starcademy was easy, looked forward to, a cause for celebration.
Leaving John Reaver, he expects, will not be so easy.