By a.j.

Freddy dumped his backpack nonchalantly against the wall of Zack's garage. It hit the concrete with a large thunk and flopped over. The young teenager glared at it for a moment before sighing. He left it there, feeling it some kind of poetic demonstration of his life, and began to start drumming against any surface he could get his hands on.

He was tired of The Band. He didn't even like to call it by name anymore. It was just The Band. The Band from Hell. The Bane of My Existence. Why I Want to Dunk My Head in My Own Bath Water. Not that he took baths anymore. But still. He didn't understand why The Band was still together anyway. It had been four years. They were all in High School now. They were different people now. And yet, they had all stayed even when Dewey left in search of other venues of income. Sure, they all understood and agreed that it was "his time to leave," but that did not mean that Freddy had no reason to want to follow him.

That was two years ago; everybody else seemed to be stuck there. Not Freddy, though. No, he was living out The Best Fucking Years of His Life, doing whatever the hell he wanted whenever the hell he wanted. He had skipped out on many practices for The Band, even, a fact that made him grin. Hell, he had even missed the last four practices in a row, which would probably explain why he had gotten The Death Glare from Zack, served up ice cold from behind a thick fringe of black bangs. Freddy grinned as he thought of making his friend angry, something that had become somewhat of a pastime of his. Of course, he wasn't sure if he could call Zack a "friend" anymore. Not that that was his fault, oh no. Nothing was his fault. Not when he could just blame everybody else.

Speaking of Everybody Else, he was suddenly aware that all of his bandmates' eyes were staring at him. Freddy opened one eye and looked at them all with the same hard expression they had looking back at him.

"What the fuck you all lookin' at?" he drawled, halfway between lazy and amused. Zack immediately started towards him and was just as quickly held back by the rest of his bandmates.

"It is not worth it, Zack," Summer quipped. She then turned to glare at Freddy. "He's just being an a-hole."

Freddy rolled his eyes and sped his drumming up, making it harder and faster just to annoy the rest of his bandmates.

Freddy grinned in achievement as he heard Zack throw down his guitar in annoyance.

"That does it," he mumbled. Freddy felt hands drag him by the shirt collar outside the side door and into Zack's backyard, muffling the sounds of protest that were coming from the other side. The rest of the people would have barged right out the door if it weren't for the fact that Freddy's body weight was now pushed up against it. That and Zack had locked the door. Freddy could faintly hear Summer telling the others that "Zack could take care of himself, anyway," and faintly wondered if the two of them were dating, what with all of the lovey eyes going from Summer to Zack. The thought both amused and sickened him.

"What the hell is your fucking problem, man?" Zack sneered, inches away from his face. "You don't show up to a practice for weeks and suddenly you're back and you're the fucking king of the whole fucking world and can do whatever the fuck you want?" Freddy winces as, with every "fuck" that came from Zack's mouth, there was another shove against the door. He felt too shocked to move for seconds; suddenly, a thought passed through his mind.

How dare he treat you like that?

His eyes narrowed and his hands went to push the other boy away from him.

"Hey! Fuck you! Who gave you the right to judge me?"

Zack narrowed his eyes and punched, hard. Freddy felt himself lose balance as he toppled over and rolled once, twice, three times, finally stopping in a patch of grass. Stunned, he reached up to check his face to make sure it wasn't bleeding; satisfied, he looked up at the towering figure above him. Both boys were breathing hard, and Zack's face was shadowed, yet still Freddy felt as though he could see into his eyes. They looked hurt, yet clouded, as though he was trying to conceal something.

"What happened to you?" Zack whispered, shaking his head. "I thought I knew you, but I guess I don't."

Freddy glared up at Zack, eyes flashing. He wanted to fly up, knock the other boy senseless, beat his face in, anything, but the anger seemed to have rendered him immobile. "Oh fuck you, Zack. You don't know the first thing about me and you never have!"

"I know you're passionate," he answered quickly. The lack of anger in his voice surprised Freddy, which only served to fan the flames of anger in his heart. He wasn't ready for anybody to care. "Or, you were. You used to care about this. It used to be your life. Now all you care about is fucking around with girls and partying all night and making the rest of us mad."

The raw emotion coming from Zack's mouth shattered all of Freddy's resolve; it reminded him of bygone days, shadows of those long nights on the phone or in one of their backyards, talking about everything and nothing at all. In a lot of ways he missed that; he missed the tents they would put up, the ghost stories they would tell which slowly evolved into stories about girls, the companionship. The feeling of knowing somebody really cared.

He wondered when those days had gone away. When he had traded in friendship for the kind of acceptance you don't get from a friend. He knew that friends loved you too much to accept it when they knew you were doing something wrong. Freddy didn't want to be told he was doing something wrong. He knew it already.

"Didn't you ever feel the passion?" Zack gasped, his whole body shaking with emotion. "The feeling of… of this is right where I should be? Where it feels like you love this thing so much that your heart aches when you're not with it, that life would stop if you stopped, but when you do it you can't breath and you think you are dying but you're not because you're the most alive you've ever been in your whole fucking life? Didn't you ever feel it? Hasn't drumming made you feel it? Hasn't-" he gulped then, her heart shining through. "Hasn't anybody ever made you feel like that?"

All of Freddy's insides were spinning, swirling, turning into a puddle of goo. He had never heard anything so fervent, so raw and aching, and Freddy felt like he wanted to – well, no need in finishing that thought. Instead, he decided it would be better to revert to the only safe thing he could do: make fun of Zack and cover everything else up.

A smirk draped lazily across his face. "Yeah," he grunted. "Your mom."

All of a sudden Zack's body was against his, his hands beating at his chest, his legs kicking at anything they could reach, his whole body exploding in anger. Freddy could do nothing at first, immobilized and pinned down. He managed to break his arm free and throw his whole weight to the side, bringing the other body with him. The two tumbled and rolled, kicking, screaming and fighting, fists flying into a fury as they each did their best to beat the living shit out of each other.

"You are such a fucking idiot," Zack gasped, glaring. Freddy laughed.

"Whatever, Passion Boy." He rolled on top of Zack, pinning him down with his arms and legs. "You have no idea what the fuck you're talking about. You think you're all high and mighty because you're the lead guitarist of School of Rock? Well I have news for you, you bastard. Nobody fucking cares. This band should have died years ago! I hate it! I hate all of you! I hate you! You are such a shitter!" He paused to laugh, gazing down at the other boy whose body was literally shaking with anger. Freddy smiled to himself, having achieved his goal. Zack was bad, he would be kicked out of the band, he wouldn't have to stop and think about any unwanted thoughts that had found their way into his head, he could go back to his girlfriend, he could party all night and sleep all day and nobody would be there to tell him not to.

And now, for the Grand Finale, ladies and gentlemen.

"Besides," he whispered, bringing his head close to Zack's. "You will never feel the passion that Chrissa and I feel when I-"

And all at once, the show stopped. Zack's mouth was on him, and Jesus, it felt Heavenly.

Any other thought abandoned, Freddy moved arms from their position of holding the other boy down to raking across the body underneath him. The freed hands came up and tangled themselves in Freddy's hair. Everything was moving so fast, their bodies moving and rolling, his hands grasping and tugging and squeezing and feeling, their bodies rubbing and tangling, and their mouths teasing and pressing, tongues testing and tasting and exploring, and suddenly Freddy's bottom lip was being nipped and sucked and licked and oh God let it never end.

And suddenly, it was over. Zack pulled back, and for the first time Freddy noticed that he was pinned on the grass. He looked up, confused and panting. Zack threw a glance over his shoulder and looked back.

"They're coming," he explained as he got up off of Freddy and ran back to the garage. Freddy had no choice but to look on, his whole head still spinning.

Oh God, Freddy. What are we going to do about this, now?