Author's Notes: Could I spend my time with more quality fanfiction, or working on my chaptered fics, or doing, well, pretty much anything else?
But I wrote this, instead of cleaning my room or packing. What are you going to do about it?
For JK Rowling
Even though this isn't Harry Potter fanfiction
You're still my favorite
"There are exactly two people I feel comfortable with at this school, and one of them is you."
Duke frowns, stepping closer to the half-open doorway. Sebastian and Olivia are still inside the science lab, sitting on opposite sides of the table. Both seem strangely delicate – but then, Sebastian's never been robust. Olivia smiles at his roommate, flicking a strand of beautiful hair from her lovely face.
"You too," she tells him with a soft smile, a slightly pink tinge overtaking her cheeks. "I mean, you've only been here for a few days and I already feel like I've known you forever."
He is puzzled to find that the knot in his stomach has nothing to do with Olivia. It is unrelated to the obvious adoration in her voice and even with the question of Sebastian's flirty remark – but it has everything to do with his roommate's "two people".
For reasons unknown to Duke, he's nearly desperate to find out who the other one is. Further on the bewilderment scale, he knows that he'll be strangely disappointed if it's not him.
"Hey, roomie." Sebastian pushes their door shut and leans heavily against its frame. "I think Eunis is stalking me."
Duke arches an eyebrow, the words coming before he can check them. "Are you comfortable around Eunis?"
His roommate blinks at him at though he's become unhinged. "What sort of drugs are you on?" He returns. "Comfortable? Around Eunis? That's like saying I'm comfortable walking into a cage full of starved and angry lions."
That gets a laugh, more from relief than humor. That's one off my list …
Sebastian usually stays in the locker room after practice, although Duke's noticed that he never showers. In fact, he's never seen the smaller boy shower before – not that he wants to, of course, just that with communal showers it's difficult not to see the guy standing next to you.
It's just the four of them left now – Duke, Sebastian, Toby, and Andrew – which makes it easier. He can kill two ninjas with one Chuck Norris, so to speak.
"All righty, boys. I've got to go – tutoring with Eunis." Toby takes his leave, smoothing his hair back and glancing at himself in the mirror as he does. Andrew shakes his head.
"There is something very odd with him right now," he informs them both. "He's always talking about Eunis. You don't think … you don't think he likes her, do you?"
Duke and Sebastian share a glance, the smallest hint of a grin on Sebastian's lips. "Dude, whatever," he says with that bizarre accent of his. "Leave them alone."
"Yeah," Duke adds, "I don't feel entirely comfortable with this conversation, do you, Sebastian?"
Sebastian jerks his head to look at him, as though trying to figure out if this is supposed to be a joke and he just isn't getting it. "Uh … no?" He ventures. "Then again," he adds, getting into the swing of it, "I never feel very comfortable talking to Andrew." He makes a face – the one, Duke has learned, that means he's said something he thinks is funny.
Instead of trying to decipher why this would be a joke, he focuses instead on the fact that Andrew isn't the other person. "Or Toby," he says, giving his roommate a meaningful glance.
"I thought he went without saying," Andrew pipes up, smiling a little. Sebastian grins in agreement.
So. Not Toby, then. That's three down.
The problem, of course, is figuring out how to ask Sebastian without sounding like a total homo talking about his feelings and whatnot. After all, he can't just keep going through the list of everyone that Sebastian knows—he's one of the most liked guys in school, and Duke doesn't have the patience to get through half that amount of people.
The solution comes, naturally, during one of their early morning soccer practices. Sebastian is juggling, eyes narrowed in concentration as he lifts his knees. "You're late," he tells Duke crossly, not bothering to look at his watch. "I woke you up like a half-hour ago."
"Shut up. Not all of us get stoked about being awake this early." He pauses, adding nonchalantly, "You're getting good at that—you look pretty comfortable with the ball now."
A smirk flits across his roommate's face as he lets the ball roll onto his foot and knocks it into the goal. "Thanks to you, dude. So, uh, what're we gonna do today?"
Duke shrugs, pulling his North Face over his head and tucking his gold hands into the pockets. He feels briefly awkward under Sebastian's quizzical stare. "It's hard," he warns. "You're finally going to have to shower when we're finished."
The other boy scowls. "Dude, I shower, man."
"Whatever. You might feel like you're going to die but trust me on this one, if you can get good at it there's no way you won't make the team."
Sebastian smiles eagerly, cracking his knuckles into his palm. "Hey, I trust you, man."
Duke looks at him sharply, unable to resist: "As much as you trust Olivia?"
For a second he looks annoyed. "Seriously, dude? Olivia's a girl. Sure, she's bangin', but I mean . . . if I had to choose between the two of you, I think it's pretty safe to say I'd want you backing me up." His serious expression melts into a grin. "Although, she does look better in a bikini then you ever could."
And Duke laughs, even though the joke isn't all that funny. He doesn't even bother to feel awkward at the thrilled, near-giddy feeling flowing through him; Sebastian trusts him. He, Duke, made that little private team of Sebastian's. It's almost better than being soccer captain.
He laces up his cleats.