Title: Meatloaf
Pairing:
Tory/Colin, just a tiny bit.
Rating:PG? PG-13-ish?
Disclaimer:
OffBeat isn't mine, it belongs to Jen Lee Quick. Or TokyoPop. Or both of them, I don't know. The play is made up.
Additional:The product of exam procrastination + wizarding rock + the Harry Potter fandom in general.
Takes place sometime in book 2 between Mandy figuring it out and Colin hitting Tory.

---

"'…but I can not bear it,'" Tory deadpanned, not lifting his face from the script in front of him. "'Your love is like the jewel of the Gods in my' - Mandy, I can't do this." He flipped through the booklet, the look on his face growing more incredulous with each page. "It goes on like that! 'The perils are too great for such a blossoming rose'. 'Your fair face will darken under the foul fumes of that place'. What kind of ridiculous--"

Mandy cut his tirade off short, looking at him earnestly over the top of her own booklet. They were seated outside the school, this being one of those days when Colin just didn't show up.

"It's a fairy tale - written by a student here!" She beamed. "It's a pro-feminist take on the traditional gender roles in high fantasy."

"Which would explain why 'the most beautiful princess in the land' is slaying the dragon instead of myself. Er, my character." Tory sighed. "And why my character is a complete loser."

"He is not!" Mandy protested. "He's just not the stereotypical hero - instead, he improves the world in, erm, other ways. The so-call female ways." She paused. "Not that they actually are female ways."

Tory closed the booklet decisively, standing up from where he had been leaning against a handy tree.

"Right. Well, I'm going to go, uhm…" he cast about in his mind for an appropriate excuse. "Look… for..."

Mandy shook her head sadly, reaching for the play booklet he still held.

"Too bad," she said, "I guess you just can't appreciate anything different."

Tory, about to give up on trying to come up with an excuse for leaving, looked at her oddly.

"How do you mean?" he asked hesitantly, and she smiled and shrugged.

"You know, the square way of life." She said from her seat on the grass. Unconcernedly, she shuffled the booklets around in her lap a bit before continuing. "Two parents. Meatloaf. Missionary sex."

Tory was so shocked by that last one he actually took a physical step backwards; the urge to leave grew overpowering.

"What!?" he spluttered after a moment, deeply perturbed by the fact that Mandy - Mandy! - had just said that to him.

She shrugged as if it were no big deal.

"I mean go if you want… but sooner or later, the world is going to move on past your little insecurities." She stopped playing with the booklets and looked him straight in the eye. "You should probably just accept it."

He took her advice and fled.

-

No matter how far away he sat from Mandy that afternoon, though, or how hard he tried to stop thinking about missionary sex with her, he couldn't get keep the thoughts out of his head.

Was he really insecure? Worse, a bigot?

Tory had never really considered his political views before - not in depth, at least. He thought his mother was a Democrat, and - thinking about it during Sociology, came to the conclusion that he probably was, too.

His single mother upbringing rendered Mandy's whole two-parent thing null and void, anyway. She was way better, a hundred and twenty percent better than his lousy deadbeat father had been.

And he didn't even like meatloaf.

By the end of the day he was feeling slightly better, but still a little off-kilter. As he left - avoiding Mandy and her sex talk and her feminism and such - he reminded himself that he probably shouldn't listen to her so much. The girl was a bit of a ditz at the best of times.

-

At home, munching on an apple after the (tediously long) bus ride, he stared idly out the window towards Colin's, wondering where the other boy had been that day.

And that's when it hit him.

Mandy. Him. Colin. Missionary sex. Unconventional relationships. Meatloaf.

Well, maybe not that last one - but everything else added up.

Could Mandy have - no, she couldn't have planned this, right? It was too - it wasn't anything like the blonde girl.

He pushed the hows and whys out of his mind and went to find the phone, dialing the number from memory when he found it behind the microwave in the kitchen.

"Hello?" came the voice from the other end, and Tory cursed inwardly. It was the old guy.

"Hello!" he tried for a polite, vaguely ingratiating tone of voice. "This is Tory Blake - I was wondering if I could please speak with Colin? I'm in several of his classes and we were supposed to meet today."

Silence on the other end for five - ten - twenty seconds. Tory started sweating.

Finally:

"Alright." a muffled noise came through the line; presumably the other speaker covering the handset with his palm. Tory waited anxiously.

Another ten seconds passed, then, with a shuffling sort of noise, the telephone was passed over to Colin.

"Hello?" a slightly raspy voice asked. Tory made his way back to the living room, sitting down on the couch and fiddling with the TV remote.

"Hi," he said after a moment, the reason for the call catching up with him, making him pause.

"Um… you there?" the other boy tried again, and Tory nodded stupidly before realising what a futile manoeuvre that was.

"Yeah. Uh - kind of dumb but - I just wanted to say - you know - well -"

Crap, this wasn't going well at all. He changed tactics.

"How do you feel about - uh -"

He heard his mother come in through the front door, calling out a breathless 'Tory, come help with the groceries!' and swore not-so-inwardly.

"Tory?" Colin's voice sounded slightly, just slightly, concerned now. "You okay?"

"I'm totally not a square!" He burst out desperately, and wanted to hit himself in the head for such a retarded statement. Unfortunately, his brain and his mouth had separate ideas. "And I don't like meatloaf - and - and -"

"Tory!" his mother yelled again.

"AndI'dBeTotallyIntoTryingThingsOtherThanTheMissionaryPosition!" he blurted. His mother came into the living room at that moment.

A blush started forming on his face until he was beet red all over.

"What?" Colin and Mary said together.

His mother stared at him, swinging a plastic grocery bag from her left hand - and he could hear Colin on the phone, making odd snorting noises that Tory realized, with a sinking feeling, must be barely contained laughter.

"I - I'll talk to you tomorrow..?" He said awkwardly, and waited for the other boy's chuckling 'okay' before hanging up.

He pasted a bright smile on his face, looking up to his confused looking mother.

"So - you wanted some help with the groceries - ?" he asked cheerfully, and she shook her head, turning back to the kitchen.

"I don't even want to know, Tory."