Title: States Of Severance
Spoilers: For the whole 1st season my pretties, although it's only implicit. Nothing too specific.

Summary: One-Shot. Everyone sees what they want, but in the end it's just Maxxie and Tony playing the game.
A/N: This started out as a very small monologue in Maxxie's point of view, about control. Then it turned into this. It's not beta'd, so if there any mistakes, please don't be afraid to mention them. Thanks.

- - - - - - - - - -

I used to be a superhero,
No one could touch me,
Not even myself.
And you were like a phonebooth,
That I had somehow run into.
Now look at me,
I'm just like everybody else.
–Ani DiFranco

- - - - - - - - - -

Tony Stonem was always in a state of severance. Always ready to break all ties with someone if those ties didn't benefit him in some way. Even when he was a young boy, he would always make sure to never get too close to his friends, always using them, abusing them, or ignoring them. He thought that his presence was enough. What he didn't know, this behaviour would one day lead to someone who could possibly play the game just as well.

- - - - - - - - - -

People like to think she's oblivious. People like to think she's dumb. People like to think a lot of things. Especially about what Michelle thinks. But what they don't know is that she sees everything. And the one most ignorant of her watching is Tony, because he never notices. Never did. Never will. He's always been that way. Somehow, Michelle always let him get away with it.

In the end, it couldn't work. She couldn't handle Tony's constant mind games. He'd already fucked her in so many different ways before, she didn't need a mind fucking to go along with it all. When she visited him in the hospital he had been all commitment and professions of love. Michelle quickly learned it was the painkillers talking. As soon as Tony took his last prescribed tablet he had gone back to his old...way. Tony, the man who was everything to everyone, except Michelle.

So she stopped lying to herself and promptly told Tony to fuck off. It also helped that Tony had told her about the photos of Abigail, who really sent them, and his bullshit reasoning behind it; while he was under the influence of four joints, a bottle of vodka, and some ecstasy pills of course.

"You really love fucking it up, don't you Tony," Michelle had asked rhetorically. Jal had found her sitting in the bathroom, piss drunk, and bitching about fuck all. The only person Michelle could really count on carried her home and made sure she got into bed properly. The morning after she remembered thanking God that Jal's parents were horny seventeen years ago, allowing copulation, which resulted in Jal. Without her Michelle would probably be asleep in a bathtub at some unknown person's house with a hangover, rather than in her own bed with a hangover.

After that, Tony was no longer Tony. Well not to Michelle at least. Something had told him that Michelle was a lost cause and that he should move on to bigger and better things. Michelle didn't expect that those things would be with Maxxie. They might as well shout it to the world because it was so damn obvious. Michelle watched the whole 'courtship' from the start. And it amused her somewhat. Tony, although he now treated Michelle more like he did Cassie, or Chris, or Sid, or anyone else for that matter, was still somewhat the Tony Stonem he was before. The one unwilling to admit his true feelings about anything and everything.

It had started simply enough. Tony talked to Maxxie more than usual; something Michelle doubted he even noticed. He would always indulge himself in looking at Maxxie when he thought no one else was looking at him. Maxxie didn't seem to notice or even care. Then Tony began getting in Maxxie's personal space all the time, trying to be in physical contact with the boy at all times, always sitting next to the blonde, always doing class assignments together. Michelle laughed as she saw Anwar rolling his eyes every time Tony shoved him over to be nearer to Maxxie. It was sweet really, something she could never imagine Tony being

Didn't really matter anyway. She was seeing Josh again, someone who was actually sane... to a certain extent.

- - - - -

Everyone was in silent agreement that Tony was smitten with someone other than himself or Michelle for the first time. Or else he was just playing another game. Either way, Maxxie seemed like he could play whatever Tony's game was, just as hard. The blonde seemed unfazed by Tony's pursuits. In fact, Maxxie could be just as manipulative as Tony, Jal discovered when they went to the cinema. It was just Tony, Maxxie, Michelle, Michelle's new boy toy (Josh was visiting relatives), and herself.

Maxxie had somehow convinced everyone to see The Black Book, some foreign, arts cinema film about female espionage during World War II. Even before any Nazis had shown up on screen, Michelle and her boy toy were off to where ever doing God knows what. Jal rolled her eyes, finding that she was doing it a lot lately. Now she had to sit through a depressing two and a half hour film with no one to snicker with, taking the piss of all the couples. She supposed she deserved it though, for leaving her house with the two worst moviegoers ever, a boy toy, and Maxxie. Luckily Maxxie sat in between her and Tony, meaning she wouldn't get in the way of their sociopathic games.

"Tone," Maxxie whined.

And so it begins.

"What is it Maxxie," Tony asked still focussing on the screen. He seemed to actually be interested in the film

"I forgot to get some Haribo Bears™. Go get me some."

"Fuck off Maxxie, go get them yourself."

"But I'll miss some of the film, and I know you don't really care about watching this seeing as you wanted to sit home and watch Casino Royale instead, and you're closest to the door, and you have the most money. Please."

Jal couldn't help but smirk and shake her head. Tony looked pissed. Maxxie had rested his chin on Tony's shoulder, poking him, trying to distract him from the film, and if she saw correctly, the blonde whispered something to Tony and tugged on the taller boy's ear with his teeth. She couldn't exactly tell.

"For fuck's sake," Tony seethed, getting up out of his seat and stomping to the concessions.

Maxxie smiled smugly, winked at Jal, and turned his attention back to the film. Let it be known that Maxxie was slowly wrapping Tony Stonem around his finger. When Tony had returned, he dropped the gummy bears into Maxxie's lap and took a sip of the Coke he had bought.

"You read my mind," Maxxie exclaimed, quietly swiping the Coke from Tony and throwing the gummy bears back to the dark-haired boy. He sipped from it delightedly.

"Maxxie, what the fuck?"

"I don't want the Haribo anymore. You can have some. Just save me some for later."

Jal swore that Tony almost wrapped his hands around the blonde's neck, twisted and squeezed really hard. But It was just a trick of the light. Tony had sat back down looking absolutely livid. Maxxie, not quite done yet, twirled his finger on Tony's knee. "Thank you Tone," he said in what sounded like a patronising voice. Tony wouldn't have any of it and grabbed Maxxie's hand, holding it in his lap.

"You are quite the annoyance," whispered Tony, shoving the gummy bears to Maxxie with his other hand. "Here, eat your Haribo."

Maxxie shrugged, letting his fingers entwine with Tony's, completely ignoring the sweets.

So this is why Tony had this new infatuation with the token gay of the group. The fact that Maxxie would try to control Tony just as much as Tony would try to control Maxxie. Maybe if Michelle had played this game, she would have lasted a bit longer. But Jal, knowing Michelle's new no bullshit policy, knew that she wouldn't stand Tony's fucking around.

Jal sat back, preparing herself for two hours more of this. Great. Fucking great.

- - - - -

Wow. Tony. Maxxie. Awesome. It's been going for almost a month and a half now. She remember because that was the last time she went to the doctors. Yeah. She had stayed in Bristol, convincing her mother that Scotland was so not it and wouldn't be for awhile. Of course Cassie never told her mother about Sid and how totally great he'd been being to her lately. He'd actually said that he liked her dress that day.

But back to Tony and Maxxie. Every so often Cassie would cock her head to the side and think how hot the sex would be. Tony probably liked ramming Maxxie through the bed while the blonde made those noises that were so often attributed to being rammed through a bed. And afterwards, Tony would probably profess his undying love for Machiavelli while Maxxie would hit him with a pillow to shut him up. Lovely.

They were sharing a cigarette as neither of them had any money to buy another pack until later. Strange how the two had started pooling their money and sharing it lately. Cassie thought it was sweet. Yeah. Tony was sitting up against a tree in the park with Maxxie sitting between his legs, the blonde's back against his chest. Maxxie was propping his sketchbook against his knees, drawing Cassie.

Oh yeah, that's why she was sitting still in one position for so long. Maxxie was drawing her. Cool.

Every now and then, Tony would nibble at Maxxie's neck, at which point, the boy would smack Tony's head with his pencil, "Tony, stop it," he would snap and then go back to work. A few minutes later Tony would do the same thing, bringing the same reaction from Maxxie. It had been going that way for most of the time they were there, which had almost been an hour, 'Wow,' Cassie thought. 'I've never spent so long in the park on a Wednesday.'

Tony took a drag from the cigarette, blowing smoke past Maxxie's ear and put it between the blonde's lips so he could take a drag. Maxxie did and let Tony take the cigarette back, and he continued drawing Cassie, being a bit more detailed than usual. Cassie knew it was because Maxxie liked being between Tony's legs like that. So anything that would make him move, like finishing his drawing, wouldn't be great. Cassie smiled.

The next time Tony nibbled on Maxxie's neck, the blonde turned his head ever so slightly, so Tony could catch his lips instead, which Tony did. It seemed they forgot people could see them.

"Wow. Great," Cassie said in her usual light and airy manner. Two guys kissing was actually hot. Maybe she should ask Sid to make out with Chris or something. The would be great.

Maxxie detached his lips from Tony's and finished off his sketch of Cassie. "Here Cass," he tore out the paper neatly from his sketchbook and offered it to her. "Hope you like it."

Cassie looked the drawing over, noticing that Maxxie even managed to capture the slight shine her hair had today. "Great, thanks Maxxie. I really do like itl." Tony had whispered something in Maxxie's ear, earning him a smack on his head from the blonde. Cassie smiled, knowing it was something that she'd rather not hear, or maybe it was. Either way, Maxxie stood up and took the cigarette from Tony, walking toward one of their houses. Cassie wasn't sure whose was closer. "See you Cassie," he said. Tony followed, waving to her and smirking.

Yeah. They were going to fuck. Blatantly.

None of the others were around today, not even Sid. They were preparing for exams probably, or scoring drugs off of someone. Cassie stood up, brushing herself off. So no one would see her do what she had wanted since she first saw Maxxie and Tony together, truly together, if the two considered what they had as 'together'. Cassie considered it together. They acted like a couple.

Cassie remembered times that Maxxie would come rushing halfway into lunch, hot and bothered with a smirking Tony standing behind him. "Looking a bit flushed Maxxie," someone would usually comment and his usual reply would be, "Fuck off."

She etched it into the tree with her biro. It took her a good twenty minutes to get it deep enough, but by the time Sid called her to ask her what she was doing tonight, she knew it would remain there until the tree was cut down.

TONY MAXXIE 4 EVA

"Wow. Great work Cass."

- - - - -

Maxxie definitely knew how to play the game. Put Tony in his place, and he would come back for more. But Maxxie was finding the game more and more difficult as the days went on. Tony had been playing for a lot longer than he had. You couldn't fool him for so long, at something he'd been doing way before Maxxie had.

It was time to employ a new strategy.

- - - - -

So this is what an argument between Maxxie and Tony resulted in. Chris had arrived a bit late on the scene to find Michelle snickering in the corner to herself, although she was still strung all over Josh Stock. It seems Josh didn't care that when he wasn't around, Michelle was fucking a different guy every day. Jal was rolling her eyes as usual, Cassie was staring at Sid, Sid was being blissfully oblivious, and Anwar had long ago given up looking for something to watch, returning to rolling a joint.

Chris could hear the screaming from where he stood. It sounded as if they were upstairs. Maxxie could be a right harpy when he wanted to; Chris had first hand experience of getting on Maxxie's bad side after the boy had a particularly bad 'E' trip. Whatever Tony did to warrant such shrieking he probably deserved, because Maxxie didn't get angry often.

"How long," Chris questioned as he sat down next to Anwar, dropping the alcohol he had brought.

"Forty-five minutes," Jal dead panned.

"Some girl called Maxxie to get to Tony," Michelle smirked, something she picked up from Tony. He would never change.

Chris shrugged not feeling sorry for Maxxie one bit. He did try to convince his friend that messing with Tony would only shorten his life span due to stress. Chris was having a particularly lucid moment during his smoke up. Maxxie had brushed it off, saying he could handle it. Obviously not.

He heard footsteps rushing down the stairs. It was a good thing Maxxie had the house to himself for the week, because Chris doubted Maxxie's parents would like that his son was having a domestic row while his friends were sitting in the living room drinking. The blonde had some cleaning up to do. From the looks of it, the two had already gotten through most of the room. Cushions, potted plants, broken picture frames, an overturned coffee table, Maxxie's school books, they were all over the place. And Chris was sure he could hear smashing plates in the kitchen.

"Tony, get the fuck out!"

Yes, that was definitely Maxxie's angst ridden and yell torn voice.

"No! Calm the fuck down and let me explain!"

Another plate smashing. "What the fuck is wrong with you?!" Tony again. Chris just hoped Maxxie wasn't throwing his mother's expensive plates. They were the best to sniff a bit of coke off of. A crystal plate set with intricate designs carved into the undersides.

"I don't know why you care. We're only fucking, me and you. So why do you care that I'm having a bit of fun with other people?"

"Tony, I could give a fuck that you had sex with anyone else. You're a bigger slut than me. But don't you fucking dare give some bitch my phone number! To call you much less!"

"What do you want me to say," Tony practically yelled. Tony wasn't one to yell. He never yelled. He just raise his voice slightly. "Sorry? Do you want me to say I'm sorry? I'm fucking sorry, okay!"

"Fuck you Tony," Maxxie threw something else. It sounded like a very heavy pan from where Chris was sitting. And then the tears started. Chris could see it now. Maxxie sobbing, leaning against the counter, then sliding down it. That's what he was hearing, actually. "Go to hell Tony. Fuck off," the boy said in between sobs. God Maxxie was a good actor. Tony would probably try to calm the him down, hug him maybe.

"Go away! Fuck off! I said fuck off Tony!"

Yes, Chris was right, for once.

"Get out. Just leave, okay," Maxxie sounded dejected through his tears. Chris assumed Tony did what Maxxie told him; he heard the front door slam. What he thought was the front door anyway. Everyone looked at each other feeling the awkward silence creep up on them.

"So, um, who's going to fix the damage," Chris asked what everyone else wanted to.

"Fuck that," Michelle muttered. "Maxxie wanted Tony, he gets the whole package. Every lying, scheming, self-righteous, manipulative piece of him." Bitter much?

"Um, I'm not that into the whole relationship help thing," Anwar said.

Jal shrugged and looked away. So no, she wasn't doing shit on anyone's behalf. Cassie had fallen asleep, unsurprisingly. She was lying over Sid so he couldn't move. That left him. What a joke. Chris was having trouble with his own love life. How the hell would he help Maxxie with his? Nonetheless, he got up knowing he would regret attempting to fix anything, and headed to the kitchen. Upon opening the door, he found Maxxie sweeping up all the broken glass. A few crystal glass pieces as well. Well fuck, Maxxie just went all out. How would he replace his mother's dishes?

His eyes were puffy and red, but he in no way looked despaired or angry. There were even tear stains running down his cheeks. But no woeful expression. In fact he had a small smile playing at his lips trying to escape. "Maxxie," Chris attempted cautiously.

The boy looked up from his cleaning putting on a straight face. "Oh, Chris. You came. I'll be there in just a second. I have to clean up a bit."

"You okay mate?"

Maxxie gave him a strange look, "Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?" He threw the glass in the rubbish bin and then went to sweep up some in the corner opposite. "Don't let them start the movie without me."

"Yeah. Sure."

Chris stepped out the kitchen. Standing in the hallway he sighed, "Fucking queens." They were so fucking weird, he thought.

- - - - -

Tony had to admit that giving that girl Maxxie's number instead of his own was a bit of a miscalculation. He had planned for an angry row, yes. Not one where Maxxie had kicked him to the curb for a night. He had wholly expected Maxxie to be jealous and to want to claim Tony in some way. Preferably angry sex.

Maxxie wasn't like Michelle at all. Not all soft curves, firm resolution, and obliviousness. No. Maxxie was angles, and circumvention, and a certain obtuse view on relationships. He never asked to hear any kind of sentence that involved the word, 'love.' Nor did he use one. All Maxxie wanted from Tony, was the truth. He didn't want Tony to tell him what he wanted to hear. It baffled him to no end. Who wouldn't want to hear what they wanted? That was what Tony was! Whatever you want.

It was always arms length with Maxxie. Which, truth be told, was the same with Tony. However, Tony Stonem would not let someone hold Tony Stonem at arms length unless Tony Stonem wanted to be held at arms length.

Who the fuck cared if he gave a girl his boyf–his project's number instead of his own? Wasn't that to be expected? Tony wouldn't want to keep all his conquests from getting together and sharing their experiences with him. It was a fucking honour if he didn't say so himself.

So why did he feel so fucking guilty every time he saw Maxxie. It had been three days already. Maxxie should really be over it by now. It happened on Friday for fuck's sake! Tony had given Maxxie the whole weekend to run back to him. Why wasn't he running back already?

The blonde had elected to sit with Michelle, Jal, Chris, and Anwar for lunch while he was stuck with Sid and Cassie still dancing around each other. Jesus, get a fucking clue Sid.

Maxxie wasn't even sparing him a passing glance. What a little fucker! Tony was not going to stand by and watch a month and a half worth of work just swirl down the drain.

"Wow, Tony. You look angry."

"I'm fine Cass."

"Why don't you apologise," Sid offered advice that was actually good. Of course Tony didn't think so.

"You aren't serious? He's just queening out. He'll come around soon," Tony said confidently. Although he wasn't so sure how soon was soon. He'd prefer if soon was now.

"I totally think so too," Cassie added . "I mean, yeah, he's just a bit angry is all." Tony couldn't figure out if she was being supportive or patronising. He assumed supportive, because that's all anyone would be in this kind of situation. With Tony at least. Which is why Tony didn't understand why Jal was cornering him after lunch the next day. Tony didn't understand a lot of things lately.

She had pushed him up against a locker when the halls were empty. "Jal, if I'd known you'd wanted this from me I would have come to you sooner," he stated flatly. It felt as if she were glaring holes straight through his eyes.

"Joking."

She stood unrelenting.

"Not funny?"

"No Tony." Maybe she was being serious? It looked that way. "I stood by and watched you systematically Michelle to the point of mental instability. But Maxxie is different. Maxxie doesn't believe any of your crap. So actually getting through that and hurting him would actually mean that we have to talk."

"And there is no way I can avoid this little tête-à-tête."

"Funny. Listen Tony, I realise I didn't help Michelle by not saying this before. But if Maxxie actually means anything to you, leave him alone."

"Why would I want to do that?"

Jal raised an eyebrow giving him a critical expression. "You did it with Michelle. You knew you wouldn't be able to stop being Tony Stonem, so you let her go. I guarantee that Maxxie won't mind if you just shove off and make his life a little easier."

"I just love how you presume to know what my intentions or motivations are whatsoever," Tony shot back.

Jal back away warily. "No one cares that you're like this Tony. But the last thing you should do is take liberties and think that your friends are playthings. We don't appreciate it much." With that she turned on her heel and left him standing alone in the middle of a school corridor. What the hell did she mean by that?

People were acting fucked up lately.

- - - - -

The one thing that Maxxie knew for sure, was that Tony Stonem never liked being told what to do. When Jal had graciously offered to 'talk' with Tony for him, Maxxie had jumped at the opportunity. Of course she wouldn't have offered if Maxxie hadn't done a little prodding at first. It took the whole Monday morning to lunchtime to convince Jal to have a chat with Tony. He noted that he needed to get a new pair of designer skinny jeans..for himself, not at all for Jal.

He wasn't even aware that Jal liked skinny jeans. And he was sure she could afford to buy a pair herself. It amazed Maxxie how much his friends liked the mere thought of control over someone. Until Maxxie got those Jeans, he pretty much belonged to Jal. No matter.

Four days had passed since Jal had alerted Maxxie to her accomplished mission. It was Friday night. Why wasn't Tony crawling back to him, on hands and knees, an apology on his lips?

Because he's Tony, Maxxie reminded himself. Tony wouldn't lower himself to such levels. Maxxie wasn't sure he could hold out any longer. After having Tony around for almost a month and a half, he was used to that ominous lingering presence. Like Tony would do something to ruin everything in mere seconds. Maxxie kind of liked that feeling. That gut instinct that told him that he was playing a dangerous game. That he was playing with fire. Or sticking pointy metal objects into an electrical socket. It was somewhat exciting.

How could Michelle ever live without it?

And the sex. Bloody fuck, the sex! Maxxie officially knew why Michelle put up with Tony's bullshit. Despite Tony's recent entrance into the world of gay sex, he was a good shag. Okay, so Maxxie had to help him a bit when it came to giving head, but fuck, could Tony thrust. And for hours. Well not hours, but pretty damn long. There were mornings that Maxxie had woken up with a sore arse; where he had to actually call in to the school feigning illness to be able to rest his aching muscles. But it was always a good ache. A satisfying ache which told Maxxie that whatever Tony was doing, he was doing it right.

Okay Maxxie, let's not get off track.

Friday night he was sitting there on his couch, munching on toast, listening to the rain, watching Cruel Intentions for the nth time, waiting for his parents to call and check on him like they did every night for the past week. They were coming back on Sunday, and Maxxie couldn't be any happier. The house was kind of creepy when he was alone. And there was a perverted middle aged man who lived next door. He liked to look at Maxxie whenever he was walking down the street and Maxxie could have sworn he saw the man stop by the house and ponder looking in the window sometimes. His parents hadn't actually been inconspicuous with their holiday plans.

Maxxie pretended that he didn't jump when he heard the phone ring. God, how embarrassing. At least no one was around to see. Shaking off his jitters off with a nervous laugh and dug the phone from under him and answered. "Hello."

"Hey, Max. Why are you not at this party man," came Chris' obviously stoned voice. God. It was only ten o'clock and Chris was high already. Not unusual by any standard really.

"I can't be arsed Chris."

"Maxxie, c'mon. Get off your lazy ass and get it to Ballare. Jal's dad got us in."

"Are you fucking serious? Ballare is all the way across town," Maxxie couldn't believe it. Chris was asking him to get all the way across town to some club that wasn't even that nice. The buses shut down at ten and the night buses took an two hours to get that far. By the time he got there they would be leaving to find some other place to crash.

"Maxxie, I order you to drag your gay arse over here before all the pot and pills are done."

"Right. I'd rather not."

"It's an order Maxxie. You have to take an order."

"Sorry captain, but I think not."

"Please Maxxie! It'll be fun. And there's lots of poncy men dancing around."

Maxxie rolled his eyes. He wouldn't hear the end of it until he was actually there, would he. He cursed himself for giving in to peer pressure so easily. "Fine, you bastard," he sighed. "Give me an hour. I have to get ready and miraculously find my way over. And save a few pills for me!"

"Yes mate! We'll be waiting."

"Yeah well don't hold your breath," he muttered and hung up the phone. Truthfully, Maxxie really wasn't up for a night out. He was hoping that he could just stay in. It seemed fate had better plans for him.

- - - - -

Since the previous Friday, Sid had actually felt a bit sorry for Tony. He totally screwed up another relationship with something so trivial. It was painful to see him last Monday staring at Maxxie. It was obvious that Tony couldn't get the boy out of his head. It gave Sid a slight vindictively satisfied feeling. For once someone had Tony under their thumb. Though Maxxie hardly had Tony fully pinned down, he still had Tony strung up.

Tony had even left Ballare early that night after arriving fifteen minutes before he departed. Yes, Maxxie was doing something right.

Sid had watched Tony all week. The poor sod was confused. He didn't know which way was up and all because Maxxie had made things complicated. Even Sid could see that Maxxie was just playing the game that Tony held so dear to his heart. Tony was just in denial. He just thought that no one else would ever be able to beat him at his own game. Until he was finally able to admit that Tony would never get why he was so strung up about his 'project', as he liked to call it. He wouldn't allow himself to call Maxxie a boyfriend, because that would mean that Maxxie actually meant something.

For Tony, fucking Maxxie would only ever be just that. Fucking.

Tuesday, Tony had come into English looking as if he'd just been told that the sky wasn't blue, the sun was actually the moon, and Freddy Mercury was still quite alive. Maybe Jal had talked to him like Chris said she would. Of course, Sid heard from Chris, who had been told be Michelle that Jal had been asked by Maxxie to have a talk with Tony. So Sid wasn't exactly sure what to believe. Just that Tony didn't like what he heard.

He was silent throughout the whole of English and the rest of the day actually. Sid wondered whether or not he should ask...well, ask whatever, but decided against it. That would only make Tony take out his frustrations on Sid which he so often did in situations like that.

On Wednesday, Tony started talking about monogamy, and polygamy, the pros, the cons, the everything. When Sid and Cassie had given him weird looks he stopped and just shrugged.

"I was reading a book about the psychology of the relationship," he explained. "Just thought it were interesting."

Sid patted Tony on the back sympathetically. Tony wasn't amused and completely brushed Sid off for the rest of the day. He watched Tony wander around in self denial for the rest of the day. Tony didn't even show up to lunch that day. Sid saw him head to the green probably to blaze away his problems with a few joints.

Thursday, Tony was a fucking wreck. Well, not comparable to Sid's usual reckless clumsiness but pretty reckless for Tony. He had sneered bitchy comments all day to anyone who dared breathe in his vicinity. Tony didn't make any new friends that day, but he surely lost a few. None of the important ones, but still some of the people who went to school with them.

It wasn't helping him, denying anything. Sid supposed Tony wasn't one who could come to terms with his true feelings for anything easily. Coming to terms with the fact that he actually had feelings must have been difficult for Tony.

Friday night saw Tony unresponsive and cold. He had gone out with them on the guarantee from Sid that he wouldn't see Maxxie that night. Of course they would, Sid had just told Tony what he wanted to hear. Within the fifteen minutes that Tony stayed at Ballare he had downed four shots and a vodka and coke. And before they had even stepped in Ballare Tony had drank a few pints of beer in the pub down the road. The drunken flush was just coming to his cheeks when Tony had suddenly decided that he was too good for their company and left without a word to anyone.

Sid looked for reactions from anyone to see that no one really cared much. Jal rolled her eyes, Michelle shrugged, Cassie said 'Wow,' as usual, Chris and Anwar just went on checking out girls. They were all seriously fucked up, Sid included. Had Tony all fucked with them so much that they didn't care how hurt he could be. Apparently so.

- - - - -

"Tony? What the fuck are you doing," Maxxie had come across the boy sitting in the park near the bus station. The tree that wasn't far from the path. The one where Cassie had sat for Maxxie's drawing. Maxxie had luckily caught the last bus to the centre of town, but he would have to walk the rest of the way because the bus stopped right at the station and no further.

Why was Tony sitting there in the park when it was raining? He should be at Ballare, with everyone else, getting pissed and high, and more importantly, dry. Tony was soaking. Maxxie looked at him letting his curiosity peak. The boy stared at Maxxie blankly then turned his head the other way. A sign that he didn't exactly want to talk. "Why are you sitting out in the rain Tony?"

"And why exactly would you care, Maxxie?"

"Don't answer my question with a question," Maxxie complained. Trust Tony to avoid a simple question. Whatever was bothering him must have been so for awhile. Tony hated getting soaked in the rain. He liked being dry.

The silence became heavy. The only sound was the rain falling and cars near the park, a few people already drunk and falling about through the streets.

"I'm confused, Max."

For the first time in awhile, Maxxie didn't understand Tony one bit.

"I don't know what the fuck I want," Tony expanded further.

Maxxie rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Since when has life been about knowing what you want," he said plainly. Only Tony Stonem could make such a big deal out of something so inconsequential. "I can't believe you're sitting out in the rain because of something so stupid."

"It's not stupid," defended Tony. "I don't know why I keep wanting to mess around with you."

"Who wouldn't. I'm just that sexy," Maxxie joked. The dark-haired boy smiled ruefully. Maxxie walked up to Tony and sat next to him, feeling the mud squelch beneath him. Great, a muddy ass was just a wonderful thing to have when going out for the night. "Is that all that's really wrong Tony?"

"Trust me, I've never not known what I want."

"Of course. How could I forget."

"There's a certain expectation–"

"Fuck Tony, it was just a game okay," Maxxie spat out. "I was just playing around with you." It was so obvious. Maxxie would have thought that Tony would've caught on quick rather than not catch it at all. It made one think just exactly went on in the mind of Tony.

"Why," was all he said.

"Because you're Tony and I'm Maxxie, and in the end, that's just how it goes. Nothing more than that. It was the only way I could keep you coming back."

If the silence was heavy before is was even heavier then. Tony didn't say anything, or even move for a few minutes, as if contemplating his next words. As if they would be his last. "I liked it," he said finally.

Maxxie replied, "Me too." It kept him going for a bit. Knowing that when he got home, Tony would call him to see if he wanted to do anything. Rent a film, go out to eat, fuck, anything. Maxxie had needed it.

"I miss it."

Maxxie smirked. "Me too."

The silence wasn't so heavy anymore. There wasn't a need to say anything important.

"So did you see the handiwork of a biro," Tony asked almost amused. He was too cold, too drunk, and too fucking confused to be fully amused.

"What do you mean?"

Tony point above his head to a heart carved in the tree with words carved inside the heart. Maxxie had to get up to read it properly, almost slipping in the process. Tony held him steadily by his hips. If Maxxie fell over, he would topple on Tony. That wouldn't be amusing whatsoever.

TONY MAXXIE 4 EVA

"That's interesting. I don't remember doing that. Did you..."

"Fuck off. Since when have I resorted to carving declarations of my affections into tree to show my love for someone?"

Maxxie nodded. Never.

"Thank you," Tony said. "I don't know who did it. I just thought it was slightly amusing."

"Kind of childish."

"Whatever."

Maxxie kept staring at it, pondering it's meaning. It was obvious what it meant. But what would it mean if it were actually Tony and Maxxie together forever. How the hell would that go, because Maxxie couldn't even imagine it. But the more he thought about it, the more he didn't mind if his life had turned out like that.

"Would you mind," Maxxie asked suddenly.

"What?"

"Tony and Maxxie forever?"

"It wouldn't be boring," Tony shrugged to which Maxxie laughed. No. It wouldn't.

Maxxie just got the sudden chills, noticing that they were still sitting out in the rain. "Bloody hell, it's cold. C'mon Tony, let's go. I'm freezing my balls off. I'm sure the bouncers at Ballare will still let us in."

"I'm not going back there. It was complete wank. It's full of pretentious cunts looking for a good time"

"So where do you suggest we go. There's no fucking way I'm staying here in the rain."

"Of course not you tosser. That would be stupid."

Maxxie rolled his eyes. How glad he was to have the 'old' Tony back, even if he was gone for just a few days that he had to go without him. He decidedly that he wouldn't willingly separate himself from Tony for such long periods of times. It would be better for his health. Mental, physical, and sexual.

"You're house," Tony looked up at Maxxie who was standing over him.

"Why not. I just came from home, after taking a shower and getting dress to go out. Just wonderful," Maxxie muttered sarcastically.

"Shut up, Max," Tony stood up, holding onto the tree trunk for support. "I'm soaking," he said, and proceeded to curse under his breath.

"I'm glad you noticed Captain Obvious," Maxxie commented, leaning forward and placing his lips against Tony's to stop the boy from uttering anything more profane. "If we hurry I'm sure we can catch the night bus at the station."

- - - - -

They did catch the night bus, and it took the an hour to even get near Maxxie's house. The trip was usually only ten minutes, thirty minutes by walking. When they had reached the house, Maxxie had opened and fell right in with Tony right next to him. They had been sharing a bottle of vodka that Tony had procured from Michelle's bag. She didn't seem to notice otherwise Tony would have gotten a call by now.

"Cruel Intentions?"

Tony was standing in Maxxie's living room, dripping wet, looking a the television screen. The movie had been paused right at the part where Sarah Michelle Gellar was teaching Selma Blair how to make out. Tony's favourite part at one point in his life. Now his favourite part was the end. When Sarah Michelle Gellar's character gets caught.

"Yes. Could you stop dripping all over the place," Maxxie said from the doorway. "You'll get the carpet wet, and it'll stink."

"Oh I'm sorry master," Tony rolled his eyes. "What do you want me to do? Strip?"

"Yes, as a matter a fact. I'm about to wash these," Maxxie pointed at his slightly muddy trousers and just a bit of his jumper and shirt. "I might as well wash yours too."

Tony looked at him. "I'll freeze."

"There's a fucking duvet right there," Maxxie pointed to the extra duvet that he had brought down earlier that evening while his was watching the film. "Fuck Tony. Do you need help," Maxxie asked agitated. He walked right up to the boy and began undoing his buttons. "Your trousers," Maxxie said. He hated when the carpet got wet. It would stay wet for days and smell later, and then when the smell went away, it left a water-stain on the floor.

Tony did as told and undressed himself along with Maxxie's help. The boy had gotten Tony's shirt off quickly, and helped peel the wet jeans from Tony's legs. Then he shucked Tony's boxers off. He took them to the kitchen, which led into the laundry room, leaving Tony standing in the living room stark naked. A few minutes later he came back waist wrapped in a towel waist down. He threw one at Tony.

"I'm going to bed. I didn't want to go out in the first place, I'm fucking tired, and freezing, and if I come down with cold I'm totally blaming you," Maxxie had stated as Tony made his way across the room towards the blonde smiling.

"And what shall I do," he asked the shorter boy, leaning down to kiss him.

Tony had found that kissing Maxxie was probably the most enjoyable thing he had done in the past week. He'd kind of missed it, though he would never admit. Running the tip of his tongue over Maxxie's lips, asking permission. Maxxie accommodated him, allowing Tony's tongue to slip inside his mouth, exploring every space he could reach. Battling Tony's tongue with his own, luring it deeper. Tony couldn't imagine not doing this anymore. He would miss it sorely.

Maxxie pushed Tony back a bit, parting himself from the boy's lips. "You can do whatever the fuck you want," Maxxie said smirking at him. "Just don't break anything. I don't like cleaning up." He turned and climb the stairs, doing that thing with his hips that always did. It was so Maxxie, that subtle sway in his hips, Tony hadn't noticed before.

Tony looked around, and then at the towel in his hand. Fuck doing whatever he wanted. He just wanted to do Maxxie right at that particular moment. He followed the blonde's footsteps, going upstairs and following the left corridor to Maxxie's room; the second door. The first door was a bathroom. The door across from Maxxie's was a study. He opened the bedroom door, to find the room dark, and Maxxie's laying in bed his back facing Tony.

Tony crept over to the bed, "Does 'do whatever you want' include getting into your bed," Tony asked cheekily.

"I did say do whatever you want, didn't I," Maxxie answered tiredly.

So Tony did. He pushed back the cover, noticing that Maxxie didn't even bother with pajamas. He laid down and pulled the covers over himself, making sure not to steal much from the blonde. He scooted over a bit, draping an arm of Maxxie's midriff and placed a gentle kiss to the boy's neck.

"Tone, not tonight."

"I know," he said, kissing Maxxie's shoulder this time.

Maxxie turned over, facing Tony, getting rid of the space between them and bringing his body flush up against the other boy's. He closed his eyes and let Tony kiss him all he wanted, anywhere he was willing. Whatever the boy wanted to do to reinstate his control. Maxxie was too cold to care right now. The warmth from Tony's naked flesh soaking into his was enough.

Tony kissed his each cheek, and then his nose, his forehead, his jaw, and chin, and then his lips again.

"I hope you know this doesn't mean the game is finished," Maxxie stated as-matter-factly.

"Fuck off, who ever said that playtime was done?"

"And don't call me your project anymore," Maxxie gave Tony a wry look. "Sid told me. I'm not fond of sound like a GCSE science experiment."

"Oh but I find it highly amusing to cal--"

He was cut off by Maxxie's lips again. He just knew how to press all of Tony's good buttons.

"Two, Maxxie. Tony, zero."

- - - - - - - - - -