A/N: Inspired by the UK version of the television show Queer as Folk, specifically Nathan and Stuarts little moment in the fourth episode.
Disclaimer: I don't own Queer as Folk.
"I'm bloody pissed off!" Nathan shouted, shoving a pile of magazines off of the coffee table.
"You're pissed off?" Vince countered, gathering the magazines up and returning them to their place. "You've just copped off in my bedroom, you twat!"
"Doesn't change anything, though, does it?" was Nathan's retort. Vince rolled his eyes at the young man.
"You honestly thought it would?" Vince asked. "God, how many times do I have to say this? You're more naïve than I thought. That's Stuart Alan Jones you were shaggin' and you think he's gonna stay? You're lucky he's had you more than once."
Nathan heaved an exasperated sigh and collapsed onto the couch. Vince glanced at the kitchen door, trying to see if his mother was there. She wasn't. He rolled his eyes and sat down next to Nathan, busying himself with straightening the stack of magazines. He cleared his throat.
"Look, you're fifteen, why don't you find someone your own age?" he asked, trying to keep his voice nonjudgmental. Nathan laughed and it was all Vince could do not to shout at him.
"What? Pick some poor bloke to pine for all my life?" Nathan asked. "Like you did?" Vince clenched his teeth and hands, crumpling the cover of a magazine, and he closed his eyes to avoid seeing Nathan's grin out of the corner of his eye. "Hit a nerve, did I?"
Vince didn't respond for awhile, taking deep breaths to calm himself down and cursing that kid for seeing right through him every time. Was he, he wondered, really that transparent? He hoped not, but he knew he was. Had been since he and Stuart were kids. And it more than irked him to know even Nathan could see it.
He turned to Nathan when he felt himself calming down, taking in the blonde haired teenager and cursing Stuart for the way he'd treated the boy.
"You're just a kid," Vince said, but his voice was quiet, nearly reverent, and all it did was bring cocky smirk to Nathan's face. Vince groaned. "Look," he said, standing. "Just go home. Go home and forget about Stuart. Just forget about everything and leave us alone!"
"Why?" Nathan asked, standing and slipping his hands into his pockets. "So you can go back to watchin' him cop off every night while you go home alone? Just waitin' for him to finish off what he started when you were kids?" Nathan shook his head, still grinning. "God, you're pathetic."
"Look who's talking," Vince retorted. Nathan laughed again, stepping forward, his face inches from Vince's.
"I'm the one who should be sayin' that," he whispered. "You're standin' here tellin' me what a cunt Stuart is but you've been waitin' for him for ages," he ran his eyes over Vince, then returned his gaze to the older man's. "It's sad."
Vince clenched his teeth again, fighting the anger as it rose at every word Nathan said, but he wasn't fast enough to quell it and before he knew what was happening his fist collided with Nathan's cheek.
"You bloody twat," Vince snarled while Nathan sat dumbfounded on the floor, cupping his cheek and gazing up at Vince with confusion brightening his eyes. "Get. Out." Vince concluded through clenched teeth. Nathan didn't move until Vince took a menacing step forward, then the boy bolted up the stairs.
Vince groaned and collapsed onto the couch. He pressed his hands to his face, trying to block out the memories that were flooding into his mind. Memories of when he and Stuart were kids, when his stupid crush started, and when Nathan first called him out on it. But, still, they came. Images of him and Stuart lying on his bed with that picture of Barry Sheene.
"Vince! Give us hand with these groceries."
His mother's voice and a slamming door pulled him out of the memory, and he silently thanked her timing as he heaved himself up from the couch to go and help her.
"Oh, god, not again!" Vince groaned, his eyes on the door as he sat with Stuart in the pub. Stuart, however, continued eyeing a man across the bar. He knew who had caused Vince's out burst, though; and, sure enough, a few seconds later, the kid's voice reached his ears.
"Hey," Nathan said. Stuart glanced at him, then returned his attention to the man he knew would be that night's conquest. After a brief moment, though, Stuart turned back to Nathan, raising an eyebrow in confusion at the black eye the boy was sporting.
"What happened to you?" he asked, nodding at the eye. Nathan shrugged as he pulled out the chair between Stuart and Vince and sat down, leaning his elbows on the table.
"Got into a fight at school," he replied. Stuart nodded, but he saw Vince's gaze drop out of the corner of his eye as he returned his attention to his potential shag. He shunted the information to a back corner of his brain, making a mental note to confront Vince about the boy's injury later.
Not that he actually cared about the kid's well being, or whether Vince had hit him or not, but it would make a damn good story to listen to once he snagged some drug or other from one of the guys at Babylon. At least, that's what he told himself.
"You all goin' to Babylon tonight?" Nathan asked after the silence had dragged on for a few minutes.
"Yeah," Stuart tossed over his shoulder, ignoring Vince's glare. "'Cause he is," he added, nodding across the bar as the man he'd had his eye on began to weave through the crowd of people towards the door. Stuart quickly drained his glass and set it down on the table before standing and, without a word, following the man.
"God," he heard Vince mutter. "I hate it when he does that." He smirked as he left the pub, knowing Vince would be following him the whole way.
As per usual, Vince was hurrying to finish his beer so he could accompany Stuart to Babylon. But, as he took another big gulp, a hand on his shoulder made him slow down. He swallowed and lowered the glass, still with a swallow in the bottom, back to the table, turning his gaze to Nathan.
"Don't go this time," the boy said. Vince laughed.
"Right," he said, finishing his beer with a quick swig. "Don't go to Babylon on a Friday night? Only people who cop off early do that." He stood and made to leave, but Nathan caught his wrist.
"So, cop off early."
"Yeah, right, who am I…," Vince trailed off as his eyes met Nathan's, searching the youthful gaze. Somewhere in those fifteen year old eyes, Vince recognized something. Something that reminded him of Stuart. He swallowed, shaking his head. "I can't…no…"
"Don't wanna be sloppy seconds, eh?" Nathan posed, stepping closer to Vince.
"You're only fifteen," Vince insisted, Nathan grinned.
"What's it matter?" He was barely an inch away now and Vince felt his breathing hitch. He tried to lower his gaze, tried to look at the shiner he'd given the boy instead of into his eyes. "What's it matter?" he repeated, and Vince couldn't for the life of him think of a response.
Vince blinked, amazed that he wasn't hung over from the night before. Regardless of his clear head, however, he still found his memories of the night's events beyond his grasp. He sighed and rolled onto his side, hoping that catching a few more hours sleep would clear his mind.
But, as he turned over, he found his vision filled with the sight of a blonde head. That brought the memories rushing back.
He sat up quickly, pulling at his sheets to cover himself as he slid out of bed. He watched as the boy on his bed stirred, groaning and rubbing sleep out of his eyes before turning to Vince with a grin on his face.
"Didn't think you'd be that easy," he said. Vince shook his head, trying to clear his confusion and register what Nathan had said. When the words finally settled, he tugged tighter at the sheets wrapped toga-like around his body and groaned in frustration.
"God, what the hell did he do to you?" he asked.
"What did who do to me?" Nathan countered, expertly rolling off of the bed and grabbing his trousers from a pile of clothes on the floor.
"Stuart, that twat," Vince elaborated. "You're turnin' into him!"
"I am not!" Nathan protested, slipping his legs into his trousers. He paused for a moment, thinking, then smiled and nodded. "Yeah," he muttered. "Yeah, I am."
"That's not somethin' to be proud of," Vince said as he watched the boy get dressed. "Honestly, if I were you, I'd run. Get as far away from Stuart as you can."
"You didn't," was Nathan's response. Vince sighed.
"I'll drive you home," he said, changing the subject. He turned around and let the sheet fall from his body and he grabbed his own slacks and pulled them on.
"I'm not goin' home," Nathan replied. Vince turned around, pulling a shirt over his head.
"Yes, you are," he said, pointedly. "You're goin' home and you're talkin' to your mother 'cause I'm sick of you bein' my problem. You're fifteen, go be fifteen."
The silly grin quickly returned to the boy's face.
"I've just had you," he said. "And you're tellin' me to go be fifteen? Bit hypocritical, ain't it?" Vince gaped at him.
"You've had me?" he queried indignantly, Nathan's grin grew and the boy nodded. Vince shook his head. "No, no, no," he said. "It's the other way around."
"Details," Nathan said with a laugh. He rounded the end of the bed and slowly walked up to Vince, the same look in his eyes as the night before. He ran a hand along Vince's side and raised his eyebrows, but Vince quickly shook his head and pushed the boy's hand away.
"I'm taking you home," he said, grabbing for his shoes and plopping down on the bed to put them on.
"Nah," Nathan said, stretching his arms over his head, his tone unconcerned as though the moment before hadn't happened. "Take me to your mum's place, I've left a few things."
"I hate the thought of you in my bed," Vince muttered under his breath as he stood and grabbed the keys to the jeep, glad for once that Stuart had left it with him. He glanced at Nathan and shook his head when he saw that that stupid smile had returned.
"I was in your bed," he said, cheekily. "Last night." Vince glared at him and, with a shake of his head, left the room, holding it on faith that Nathan was following him.
"God, where've you been?" Haze Tyler queried as Nathan preceded Vince into the house. The woman set aside her breakfast and bustled over to the two men, clasping her hands onto Nathan's shoulders and looking him in the eye. "I was worried sick about you."
"Mum, he's fine," Vince said in exasperation. "Honestly, he's been with me all night." Hazel studied her son for a moment before nodding and ushering Nathan passed her and into the kitchen.
"Get yourself some breakfast, dear," she called after him as he sat down with Bernie. She then turned to her son and sized him up for a moment before speaking again. "You didn't shag him, did you?" she asked. Vince stared at her.
"No," he said in shock. "Of course not, I'm not Stuart!"
"That isn't what I asked," Haze replied. "I asked if you shagged him." Silence settled over them, and Vince couldn't help but fidget with the hem of his shirt. His mother nodded. "You had him," she said. Vince sighed.
"Look, mum, it's not-" Hazel held up her hand and shook her head.
"You don't have to explain anything, Vince," she said. "His first shag was Stuart, he's bound to be a bit…off." Vince chuckled nervously.
"I don't really even know how it happened," he said. "Honestly, I don't. I wish I could just forget it."
"Bet he doesn't," Hazel countered, nodding to the kitchen. "Bet you're a better shag than Stuart."
"Mum," Vince protested.
"What? A mother can't compliment her son?" she asked, grinning.
"Most mothers don't discuss how well their children shag," Vince replied. Hazel laughed and patted Vince lightly on the cheek.
"You better be off, dear," she said. "Work and all that." Vince nodded, kissed his mother on the cheek, and left. Hazel shook her head as she watched him leave, then chuckled lightly and returned to the kitchen. Bernie had picked up the paper and Nathan was hastily buttering a slice of toast.
"Why're you in such a rush?" Hazel asked, sitting down and took a sip of coffee. "It's not a school day or anything."
"I wanted to go hang out with Donna," Nathan replied through a mouthful of toast. Hazel shook her head.
"If you think tellin' stories about what you and Vince did last night the way you did with Stuart, just remember where you've been stayin' lately," Hazel warned, though there was a twinkle in her eye. Nathan nodded and swallowed.
"I won't," he said. "I promise. But, really, if I don't check in with Donna she'll worry about me."
"Quite a friend you've got there," Bernie piped up. Nathan nodded.
"Oh, she's great," he said. He finished off a second slice of toast and stood. "Well, I'd better go," he said. Hazel stood as well and followed him to the front door. She stopped him opening it for a moment, catching his eye.
"Don't turn into Stuart," she said. "And, especially, don't hurt my son." Nathan stared down at her for a moment then nodded.
"I won't," he said. "I promise."
Hazel watched him walk down the drive, remembering what Vince had said the day before. God, you can't trust a word he says.
Vince groaned as the bell buzzed through his house, rousing him from one of his favourite episodes of Doctor Who. He rewound it a little and paused it before getting up and walked briskly to the door. He pulled it open to find Nathan standing sheepishly before him. He groaned.
"What are you doing here?" he asked. "It's bad enough you're sleepin' at my mum's house, you have to come round here and bother me as well?"
"Can I come in?" Nathan asked, avoiding Vince's question. "Just for a bit?" Vince thought for a moment, then, with a sigh, stepped back to allow the boy entry. He watched Nathan as he closed the door, eyeing the boy's path to the couch, where he collapsed and promptly pointed at the TV.
"It's Doctor Who," Vince said before Nathan could ask, doing nothing to hide the annoyance in his voice. "Look, what d'you want?" Nathan shrugged, his eyes wandering from the TV to the shelves of movies, to the floor, and back.
"Just wanted to get out of that room is all," he finally said, looking up at Vince.
"What's wrong with it?" Vince asked. "The mattress broke or something?"
"No," Nathan said, shaking his head. He shrugged again. "Memories, I guess." Vince sighed and nodded.
"You and me, both," he said, sitting down next to Nathan. They sat in silence for awhile, both staring at the frozen image of Tom Baker in his scarf. As the moments dragged on, Vince found himself shifting slightly, getting closer to Nathan. And, out of the corner of his eye, he could tell Nathan was moving closer to him.
"I don't," Nathan started, looking into Vince's eyes. The older man lifted a tentative hand to cup the boy's cheek, and Nathan's eyes fluttered closed at the contact. He licked his lips and swallowed before continuing, eyes still closed. "I don't want to be like Stuart," he whispered.
"I know," Vince replied. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Nathan's. The feeling sent a rush down Vince's spine and it felt new, though he knew he'd kissed the boy only the night before.
He ran a hand lightly up and down Nathan's back as the boy's hands clenched in his shirt. Carefully, he leaned forward, guiding Nathan to lie back on the couch as he moved his lips from Nathan's lips to his cheek and down along his neck.
That night, after they'd moved into the bedroom, Vince lay awake staring at Nathan's sleeping form, wondering what exactly Stuart Alan Jones would say if he knew. When he knew.