A/N: Thanks goes to Akili for allowing me to use one of her ideas in this story.

Unreciprocated

He had a wide reputation upon campus for being a skirt-chaser, so much so that when he moved into his second year of study, he overheard a couple of fresh meats muttering to each other. Between a mix of overhearing and lip-reading, he managed to complete the first few sentences.

"Hey, that's the skirt-chaser we were warned about a couple of weeks back. Looks cuter than in his photograph though."

"Liz, be quiet! He's looking at us!"

Trotting away, both girls resumed their conversation out of earshot, although Liz did look over her shoulder at him one last time before they disappeared around a corner.

Truth be told, he didn't mind the reputation so much, it only cemented the belief that he was a red-blooded heterosexual male. He'd been raised in a conservative family one which, while they didn't seem to mind homosexuals, seemed to be the kind who were 'I don't mind them, so long as no one in my family is one!'

He didn't wake up one day and realize 'hey, I'm gay!' in the stereotypical fashion, his evolved over a period of a few years. He'd drooled over the usual teen male fantasies and, like most males, had a stack of magazines shoved underneath his bed. It had changed when Josh joined Del Oro High late in freshman year. Known widely as one of the more promising teen stars, and with a few television appearances, Pete keep stealing glances at the tow-headed teen, working up the courage to introduce himself and Laura during lunch.

Now friends with a sports star, his parents kept telling him to join a sports club, "Football, maybe?" they'd suggest innocently, and Pete snorted mentally. Nothing says 'manly' so much as a bunch of muscly guys crowding together, passing things between their legs and slapping each others' asses after a well-done game, after all.

Instead, he tried out for the hockey team and was put in the reserve team. While it wasn't football, and while he wasn't in the main team, his parents were happy about him finally getting out of the house and doing something productive. Josh had, somehow, managed to balance schoolwork, extreme sports and also join the school swim team, which gave Pete a nice surprise when he skimmed through the yearbook that year.

There was a picture of Josh, along with the rest of the swim team, standing in front of the school pool and wearing nothing but their speedos. His reaction to that had probably solidified in Pete's mind the fact that he was gay.

He kept quiet about it, especially after Josh started dating Laura, especially as he wasn't entirely sure that he was gay. He still chased after women, and had a couple of female celebrities he drooled over, along with Josh. He'd then entertained the fact that he was bisexual, before ascribing to the 'I'm heterosexual, but I'd go gay for Josh' mentality, especially as he knew of no other males he had a crush on.

They slipped through the next two years of high school quietly, with Pete not saying anything about it, shrugging his shoulders and saying "I get close to a girl, and she runs off," anytime someone asked why he hadn't had a girlfriend yet. He managed to find a girlfriend in senior year, but they split after a few months, having the mutual feeling that that relationship wasn't going to work out.

Then came graduation.

And The Kiss.

Yes, The Kiss, capital T, capital K. Both Pete and Josh had graduated and, a few days afterwards, they were in Josh's house, drinking a toast to each other for surviving high school, and good luck for the two of them, and Laura, for college. All three were staying local and attending Del Oro University, and Laura had gone off to France for a few weeks, her parents' way of saying congratulations, followed by a month in China to meet her brother and his girlfriend.

Pete had lost count of the number of beers they'd both drunk, and were now proclaiming themselves to be 'best friends forever', falling over each other and bumping into things in an attempt to become more intoxicated.

Pete, ashamed to admit it, took advantage of the situation and kissed Josh. Twice.

Then Josh was sick all over Pete.

Not being as intoxicated as Josh, whom he'd left on the couch – once certain that he wouldn't choke if he was sick again – he struggled out of his vomit-soaked clothes, only managing to take his t-shirt off, and crashed on Josh's bed.

Needless to say, when Jefferson found them both, he was less than happy. After giving both a stern lecture on the hazards of over-drinking, he then asked what happened, and Pete was stuck with fear as to what Jefferson's reaction would be. Thankfully, Josh said that he didn't remember much after the third beer and he had a major hangover, so could he go and sleep?

Jefferson then turned to Pete, who was quick to say that they'd just been drinking to celebrate, Josh passing out on the couch and himself somehow finding his way to Josh's room and sleeping there.

During college, he kept quiet, the only person who knew about the kiss, keeping it secret from Laura. Could it really be thought of as cheating if the person cheating didn't remember it?

He moved from first year to second, having to endure the 'taunts' of being a skirt-chaser, and to also see Josh growing more and more distant from both himself and Laura. Pete stepped in to look after Laura, beginning to wonder if she saw him as something more than just a friend, or whether she was so desperate not to feel lonely and rejected that she just clung to Pete, hoping that he wouldn't do the same to her.

Laura ended up dumping Josh, and was asked out a few months later by Max, which Pete wasn't too happy about. He had the same feel about him as Josh when they entered their second year of college, the same niggling feeling that he was just going to use her until it suited him, stringing her along with lies and broken promises.

Pete then realized how messed up their love lives seemed to be. He liked Josh who liked Laura who liked Max (who seemed to have reciprocal feelings) but also seemed to be attracted to him as more than a friend.

He never did figure out what sexuality he was.