I would like to thank fl29dwnlover for the idea of writing a Tom/Regina fic. This is dedicated to her, and I'm sorry it took me so long to write.
Disclaimer: Cry Wolf not mine.
This party sucked. A lot.
Someone had brought a light machine that caused the entire room to pulsate with tie-dye radiance in rhythm to some truly awful pop music. No one was dancing, and Tom certainly couldn't blame them. The crowd was composed mostly of freshman, the geeky kind – and not even the interesting geeky kind. One was telling lame jokes to a small crowd that had flocked around him and was giggling nervously. There were a few bowls of junk food set out along with a tub of non-alcoholic punch. Tom rolled his eyes.
This really did suck.
The faculty had thrown the party for the students, saying it was a "reward for their hard work." Tom knew that was a load of shit. The party was a thinly veiled attempt at distracting the student body from the recent murder, and the knowledge of that weighed in the minds of all the attendees, haunting them. Tom winced at the metaphor.
Most of his friends had bailed to go to the chapel. Playing Cry Wolf so soon after the murder was creepy, but it somehow seemed preferable to blotting the incident from their minds with a stupid celebration. Tom would have been with his friends in a heartbeat if not for his father. A few weeks ago, a teacher had caught Tom sneaking out. Tom had said it was a one-time thing, and though the teacher seemed to fall for it, his father had correctly suspected otherwise. "If you pull a stunt like that again, I will have you forcibly transferred out of that school," the man had threatened, and his son knew he wasn't bluffing. Tom's father was a forceful man, as the thin pale scars on Tom's leg reminded him – when he was thirteen his father, in a fit of rage, had pushed him down in the middle of the street. Tom landed on a grate and should have probably gotten stitches, but his parents had kept him home, not wanting hospital staff to ask questions. This was the same; Tom wasn't being warned to protect him from the killer, but to protect the family name.
You know what? Screw the family name. Tom was ditching this shit party. No one asked questions as he walked out the door, just followed him with their eyes as though they wished they were doing the same. He walked down the halls with purposeful strides, each step bringing him closer to the chapel, his friends. Free from his father's grasp.
"Hello, Tom." The voice shocked him back to his surrounding. A security guard stood stationed by the door, smiling sickeningly at him.
Damn it! "Yo," said Tom coolly. His father had probably sent this dude to keep watch on him. Okay, that was probably paranoid, but it didn't seem that unlikely.
"Out for a stroll?" asked the guy.
"I was actually just heading back to the dorm. I'm tired, planning on turning in early," lied Tom.
The guard nodded as though he believed that bull. Tom turned and began to walk towards the dorms, in the complete opposite of the direction he had been heading. Once he was sure he was out of the guard's field of vision, Tom felt his shoulders relax. Where now? the corridors seemed to ask.
He could actually do as he said and go to his room. He wouldn't sleep, of course, but he could use his computer. Maybe some of his friends would be back from the chapel soon and they could IM.
The silence in his room was so heavy it seemed to push down on his lungs, making each breath a conspicuous effort. Was this better or worse than the party? He really couldn't say. The two mattresses seemed daunting, pointing out that he was the only one without a roommate. Sometimes he liked the privacy, but right now he wished there was someone he could talk to.
The school yearbook was splayed out on his desk and Tom gravitated towards it. Not seeing anything else to do, he flopped down on his bed and flipped through it. There was a picture of him, looking weirdly young, as he always did in photographs for some reason. A row down was Randall, grinning ironically as the light flashed off his many facial piercing. He never took anything seriously, did he? Dodger looked sophisticated, as always. And Regina looked…
Regina. She was harder to sum up in a few words; he couldn't quite place why. Pretty? He'd never really thought of her that way. Or at least, he tried not to. She was a friend, a rival, a weird but admittedly sort of cool girl. She was Regina.
And she was beautiful. The realization shocked him. How could she be beautiful? She grated on his nerves like no other human being ever had, all they did was bicker. And she wasn't obviously pretty, was she? He reexamined the photo. She had energetic eyes behind black-rimmed glasses and was flipping her hair in a parody of those shampoo commercials, smiling mischievously as she did so. And for some reason he couldn't quite place, she was… beautiful. Man, why was he getting so sentimental? That wasn't him, he didn't see her that way. She was just fun to argue with. Her eyes seemed to be looking straight into him, reading his mind. Judging by her expression, they found what they saw highly amusing.
But that was ridiculous, it was just a photograph.
"If you're going to jack off to my yearbook photo, at least do it when I'm out of the room," said a voice from behind him. Tom jumped and wheeled around. Standing right there was Regina. She continued speaking, "I mean, I know I'm gorgeous, but please restrain your urges."
Tom felt anger rising up in him. This was how he normally felt around her, which reassured him a bit. That is, until embarrassment followed. Trying to hold on to that anger, he said, "What are you doing here? This is the boys dorm!"
She rolled her eyes. "Really?" she asked sarcastically. "I was wondering why there were so many guys here."
"What are you doing here?" Tom demanded.
She shrugged "I lost, then I left. Figured you could use some company, since you're all alone here." He couldn't tell if she was mocking him, but for some reason he was glad she had come.
Suddenly the door burst open and Randall burst in. "Yo, Tom-a! Yours truly scored some beer and spiked the punch, you gotta see what the freshmen are doing whoaaaa…." He trailed off abruptly, eyes landing on Regina. "Whoooaaaa," he repeated, and began to retreat.
"Come back here Randall, before you go tell the whole school whatever your sick mind came up with!" Regina shouted, running after him.
Once again, Tom was alone. But it seemed different this time, the knowledge that Regina had come to visit him making him feel oddly… happy. Her presence seemed to light up the room like glowing letters reading "REGINA WAS HERE."
- - -
The lights of police cars flashed red and blue off the wide eyes of scared and disoriented students. They answered questions in breaking voices. They sought out their friends or stood aloof and cold in the night air.
Tom was stunned. What had happened to Owen? What had happened to everyone? He spotted Regina in the swarm of students and police. He noticed she was one of the aloof ones, shivering with a few tears rolling down her face, trailing mascara after them. Tom raised a hand to his face and found his eyes were wet too. He realized he wasn't angry, he was dead terrified and… sad. And he wanted to help Regina, to do whatever it took to make her feel better.
He wrapped his arms around her in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. It must have been, because she leaned in against him, her head against his shoulder. Her body was reassuringly warm against him.
"Where do we go from here?" she asked quietly, meeting his gaze.
"We go… somewhere," he said, hoping it was the right thing to say. "We fix things. Make them how they should be." As soon as the words were out of his mouth he wanted to take them back. It was such a stupid thing to say, so simplistic and textbook. But Regina seemed to accept it.
Close against him, she intoned, "Let-let's fix things together. I'll go there with you."
"Yeah. Sounds like a plan."