Mmmmm'kay, well, it's not really a new story, just a prequel to Seduction, but I got it out fairly quickly, right? I'll go back to working on my planned fics now.


"Here, Colin, open up."

Colin did as told, leaning forward and brushing his too-long bangs behind his ear as he nibbled the morsel of carrot cake from between the other's fingers. Then he leaned back again, resting his head against the tree trunk and staring at the somewhat hazy sky. The heat made the clouds look expanded, puffed up and lazily drifting across the vast blue. Like sheep in a field on another planet, he thought vaguely, his eyes half-lidded as he took in the noise of a jet flying overhead, just above his line of sight. He didn't turn his head to look for it; just noticed when the cloudy stream of exhaust crossed into his vision. The stretched and streaked white trail made the true clouds look even more bloated in comparison.

A finger with a dab of cream cheese icing on the tip appeared in front of his face and he took it into his mouth without questioning, sucking it clean.

"You're really out of it today, aren't you?" A chuckle. "Colin, you're so pretty." A tan hand came up and toyed with the bang in the middle of his forehead that was always just a little too short to stay tucked where he put it, before the fingers splayed, sweeping all of his bangs up through the rest of his hair and holding most of them captive there, a few falling back to frame his face.

"…" The hand moved farther back, his bangs escaping to fluff around his face again as the palm cupped the back of his head, pulling him closer to meet the taller male's mouth. Green flashed in his vision as his eyes slipped shut, and he sighed silently into the tranquil kiss, at ease with the unchanging scene. He had had this dream every Friday for seven and three-quarter months. The first time had shocked him slightly, but he was good at accepting parts of himself as he discovered them, so the second time he was ready for more. More didn't come. The dream never changed, just like his life. Dashed his hopes for reality, but then, he'd never liked his reality. He wished the other really cared. He didn't dare to expect anything from life, but he dared to dream, apparently, or he wouldn't be here.

Nothing changed unless he changed it. He always slept on his side. Three dreams in, in order to brighten his own mood every morning, he moved one of his precious, brightest green plants, a star aloe vera in bloom, from its perch on the windowsill to his desk instead, where he'd see it every morning as he woke from the same position. Green, like the wet jewels he caught himself gazing into whenever he saw the other looking in his direction. A tall stalk, tall like the other male, with vivid red flowers sprouting and dangling from the top. He loved those flowers, too.

As soon as he moved the plant, the dream went further and remained that way. His subconscious was affected by his reality. From that point, in his dream, he now ran his hand through the other's red hair, pulling them closer together until he was on the other's lap. Their faces now almost level, he still being a little shorter, he licked the redhead's lips, and a questing tongue protruded to dip into his hot mouth.

Their heads tipping just slightly was enough gravitational force to let the saliva run into his mouth, and he swallowed when there was enough of it, relishing the almost-cinnamon flavor of his love. Breaking only for air, he pulled away, appreciative of the quick kiss the emerald-eyed teen pressed to his lips again in order to catch the strand of saliva that connected them. The other licked his lips, and he licked back, clean. Then he inched back until he could slump down and forward to snuggle into the male's warm neck, sighing against the short vermillion locks behind the ear. "Tory…" He whispered into the pulse point, letting his eyes close as the warmth and the still air and the soft steady beats against his lips soothed him to sleep.

Falling asleep in the dream woke him up into reality. He sat up from where he'd fallen asleep in his chair from studying, and when he opened his eyes he searched frantically for his plant, disoriented by not waking up in bed. He turned to see his plant on the opposite side of the desk. "Tory…" He whispered out loud, bringing a few fingers up to caress his lips. He wondered if adding an aphrodisiac plant next to the aloe vera would move the dream to the point that a normal teen would dream about. He'd never had a wet dream before.

"…You're such a fucking coward," he muttered to himself spitefully. Why couldn't he change real life? Why was life unfair? Turning, he glanced at the analogue clock on the wall. "…morning already, huh?"

He got up, stretching and working the kinks out of his spine as he went through his morning routine of getting dressed, feeding his cats, watering his plants (saving the aloe for last so he could press his nose to the blooms and take in their scent), brushing his teeth, and heading downstairs to pour a glass of milk from the fridge, stirring it with a cinnamon stick and savoring the taste. He knew perfectly well why he loved this drink now; it was like clinging to Tory's taste all morning until lunch when he could see the redhead. He sighed. Their friendship was questionable at most, mainly because Colin was so hesitant about trusting others, but if Tory ever found out how obsessive and needy he was…

Pushing the thoughts away so that he could act normal around the taller teen during their study session, he concentrated on the knowledge that he could spend most of the whole day with Tory, even if Mandy was going to be there. Ugh. He felt a pang of jealousy. Mandy was always around, and she obviously liked Tory. He'd heard her call the redhead cute once. She was a good friend, but it irked him that she could encroach onto his territory that would never even really be his, and she might even snatch Tory away. After all, it was normal for a boy to like a girl that liked him back; it made him feel wanted.

And even at most if Tory rejected her they would still stay friends. She couldn't disgust Tory and drive him from her side. Only he, Colin, could do that. Why couldn't he be born a girl? Anything to have a chance with Tory. Life was never fair.

He sighed, grabbing his backpack and crossing the street. Who knew Tory lived so close? It would have made it easy to carry on a relationship since they were so near each other, if such a thing weren't out of the question based on their shared gender. He knocked on the outer door, and was slightly surprised when it opened almost immediately.

"Hey!" Tory said.

"Oh! That was fast…were you waiting?" He asked, forcing the hope out of his tone in order to remain inconspicuous.

"Not really. Come in," Tory replied easily, as a stubbly college-aged looking man walked down the stairs.

"He was just chatting with his upstairs neighbor." The man said, then looked closer at him. "You wouldn't be Colin, would you?" He asked, sounding interested. "I think I've barely seen you since you moved across the street. What brings you to our neck of the woods?"

"Studying for a physics test. See ya Paul," Tory cut in a little quickly, sounding slightly irked for some reason.

As he followed Tory inside the inner door to his apartment he heard Paul say to himself behind them, "Huh...what else have you been up to, Tory?"

…what did that mean? And how did the college guy know his name if they'd never met or talked? Did that mean…Tory was talking about him at home? He mentally punched himself for feeling hope form. Obviously Tory had just offhandedly mentioned him or something while he was talking to the college kid, since he was coming over to study.

When they reached the living room Tory gestured in a vague direction. "You can leave your coat over there. I have some study guidelines marked already." He sat on the couch, and Colin joined him.

"Thanks," he said.

"So you want to start at the beginning of Chapter 22?" Tory asked him, which confused him that they'd start so soon.

"Isn't Mandy coming?" He asked, yet crossing his fingers against it in his mind.

Tory looked a little awkward. "I don't think so...oh yeah, and I hope you don't mind staying for dinner. My mom insists," he tacked on hastily.

"…I guess all this special treatment is just a "coincidence" as well?" Colin chuckled at Tory's cute hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar expression. He remembered when he had nervously confronted the redhead before, hoping to find out that his beloved returned his feelings. No such luck. Tory had shot him down so easily, his reasons so casual…Colin had covered his emotions, tacking a smile on and telling Tory to just forget it before he had retreated to cry in his room.

"Err... well, actually, yeah," Tory said, not looking directly at him.

"Right." He said, letting it drop. He didn't want to take it far enough that he was forced to accept that it really was.

"Well, uh, let's start studying then. Um, want you to do good on that test, you know." Tory said, flipping open the textbook to the first tab.

They studied efficiently for a while, mostly Tory talking and Colin absorbing with occasional interruptions consisting of questions on the raven's part. Vaguely he registered hearing the door in the hall opening and a woman's voice muttering negatively about parking or something, which Tory seemed not to notice as he continued to lecture about vector properties. When woman came into the living room, Tory looked up, sensing her presence, and introduced him.

"This is Colin, Mom," he said with a gesture before looking back down at the book to find his place.

She smiled at Colin. "Hello, I'm Tory's mom. You can call me Mary if you like. I won't disturb your studying. Let me know if you need anything." She said, leaving the room.

Tory continued from the point he left off, sounding a little embarrassed, as if Colin would take Mary's entrance as a reminder of his "special treatment." "Anyway, vectors are equal if they have the same MAGNITUDE and DIRECTION," he said, placing emphasis as if this would get Colin back on the topic he wanted.

A few minutes later they heard a muffled "WHERE'S THE CAKE?!?!" from the direction of the kitchen, then "TORY, SWEETIE!"

Tory groaned in exasperation. "Not now," he sighed under his breath.

Mary's head popped into the living room. "It looks like desert didn't make it home. Can you go run to the bakery?" She requested.

"We don't need any, Mom!" Tory responded a little defensively. "You always make too much anyway."

…nothing changed unless he changed it. He recalled his dream suddenly, and after a moment of deliberation said slowly, as if he were being thoughtful, "There's a place on Fresh Meadow that makes a really good carrot cake. You can taste the carrots."

Tory looked at him in surprise. "Really? How is that supposed to make it good?" He asked skeptically.

He grappled for a reason, thinking that Tory probably didn't really like carrot cake, just like in his dream where the redhead just handfed it all to him. He felt like this was urgent, like sharing carrot cake with Tory in real life would be enough of a change on his part that the dream would go further. "It has texture...moist and not too sweet." He said. Damn, that was just his personal preference. Did Tory like sweeter cakes?

Tory got up, smiling. "Sounds like you really like it. We should get some then."

Trying then to sound as though he wasn't as desperate to get the cake as he was, he added, "I thought you didn't want dessert."

Tory smirked to try and cover the embarrassment that was still obvious in his cheeks. "I didn't say that." He answered self-righteously.

Colin took his cover-up story further, shifting the question of behavior onto Tory instead. "Special treatment again?" Tory didn't look at him, instead just grabbing a coat and leading Colin out the door.

On the way to the bakery they were mostly silent, not looking at each other, until Tory stared up at the sky with a sigh, making a comment about the weather that at least was a little intelligent in order to make conversation: "Gotta love the city. All we get is overcast, smog and rain. It will probably be past Christmas before we get any snow."

Colin looked up too, sensing within himself. "I don't think so."

Tory looked at him. "What makes you say that? Remember last year?"

He shrugged, unable to tell him the reason. "Just a feeling," he said vaguely.

"There's nothing in the extended forecast online," Tory said, obviously thinking hard on this, not about to let the conversation drop.

"Here," Colin said, indicating his favorite bakery, and ordered the right cake once they were inside.

"…They actually put carrot peelings on top?" Tory said as the baker removed the cake Colin was pointing at from behind the counter. The redhead sounded as if he thought it was funny and slightly weird.

"It's carrot cake," Colin defended, his tone making it sound as if this should be obvious and unquestionable.

"If you say so," was the redhead's only reply. As they left the bakery, Tory looked up at the slowly darkening clouds. "Aww man, I hope it doesn't rain," he complained.

Colin looked up in time too to see the snow he had felt coming start to fall.

Tory gasped. "No WAY! It's too warm for snow! Awesome!" He said animatedly, putting a hand out to let flakes land on it.

"…why are you trying to catch them?" Colin asked.

"I don't know. Haven't you ever tried?" Tory responded in defense, as if he'd realized he'd been caught acting childishly.

"No. Your hands are too warm," Colin said with a smile, touching his hand on top of Tory's, clasping gently. "It melts." He thought he saw Tory's face turn a little redder, though it was probably just the cold.

"So? What's wrong with that?"

His smile widened slightly. "Just let them fall." He turned and walked, subtly keeping his hold on Tory's hand by staying just enough ahead to seem as if he was leading them towards home. When Tory kept quiet and didn't let go, actually seeming to squeeze back a little, he smiled in relief and just kept walking. When they got home the man from upstairs was waiting with Mary, Tory's mom.

"Welcome back!" He greeted in a slightly smug tone.

"Dinner's ready!" Mary added cheerfully.

"Paul!?!" Tory exclaimed, looking a little ruffled and vexed.

Mary smiled at her son. "You said I always make too much," she explained.

"You invited him?" Tory accused unhappily.

Mary just looked at him knowingly. "You don't really mind, honey. The more the merrier!"

They took off their coats and hung them up before sitting down to eat, Tory scooting his chair a little loudly in petty protest. After they were served, Mary looked up to see Colin being a little reserved about eating out of politeness. Understanding that he was waiting to see whether or not they were going to do a prayer before the meal, she said, "Don't be shy. Help yourself!"

Paul spoke up as they began to eat. "So how's the "studying" going?" He sounded a little sarcastic. "Tory isn't giving you a hard time, is he?"

"It's so nice to finally meet you Colin. Tory hasn't brought a friend home in ages," Mary said innocently. Tory looked a little embarrassed and upset.

"Are you sure Tory ever had friends? This seems like nothing short of a miracle," Paul ribbed, throwing in his two bits. Tory spat out his drink at this.

"Oh, Paul. You're such a teaser!" Mary laughed.

"Mom, can we please start locking the inside door? It's a good deterrent against burglars. You know, food burglars." Tory said vengefully, and Paul arched a slightly worried eyebrow, staring at him. Colin looked oddly between the two, whom were obviously acting on some inside joke. "Seriously mom, no one values your cooking more than me!" Tory added, to which Paul quickly retaliated with "LIES!"

Mary just laughed.

"All joking aside, we haven't heard a word from you yet, Colin," Paul said, sounding like he was trying to change the topic before they actually encountered dangerous waters for his stomach.

"That's fine," Colin said, "as Tory's FRIEND I'm just getting to know him better." He stressed the term friend, trying to make it sound solid even to himself. It was a step, right? They had to at least be friends first. Or at least be friends, period. Nothing changed unless he changed it. He needed Tory in his life.

"…I sense sarcasm somewhere in there." Paul stated, his interpretation of Colin's tone a little off, but Colin wasn't about to correct him.

They lapsed back into silence for a few minutes, which Tory, staring determinedly at Paul, broke by exclaiming, "Well look at that. Looks like you're just about done eating Paul!"

"I thought you guys brought dessert," Paul fought back, unwilling to leave without every ounce of food he could cram in and eager to stick around and tease Tory some more.

" Don't you have some kind of college thing to do tonight, hmmmm?" The redhead blatantly hinted, his eyes promising pain if Paul didn't leave. Paul sighed grudgingly and played along in a glaringly obvious manner, getting up from the table.

"Well gosh, where did the time go? Thanks for reminding me. Wonderful meal Ms. B, you should have your own cooking show!" He complimented as he started towards the door, obviously salvaging his stomach from a locked inner door.

"…I'll be right back." Tory excused himself as well a little hastily, presumably to kick Paul's ass for making fun of him. They both left the room, and Mary turned back to Colin to see him finished, his utensils on the plate facing inward and napkin covering the ends he had used to eat off of in the manner of polite etiquette.

"If you're done, I'll clear the table," Mary said, standing up, and Colin stood up with her.

"Let me help," he offered, collecting and stacking some of the plates on the table.

"I wish Tory had your manners," Mary sighed, leading him into the kitchen. "I hope you liked dinner, Colin. Just set those in the sink. I'm going to watch some TV in the living room if you don't mind." She turned to him with two plates, a slice of carrot cake on each. "You can take this to Tory's room and finish studying there. It's the second door on the left."

Taking them from her with a thank you and heading to the designated room, he set them down on Tory's desk and surveyed the room. Messy and completely normal. Normal. Tory was a normal teen and therefore liked girls and he, Colin, would never have a chance. He gritted his teeth against sudden tears and looked around him. All he would have was his dream. He had to make his dream at least something to appease him. Glancing at the closet, he had a thought.

'If I take a piece of clothing…something he never wears from the back of the closet? He'll never notice it's gone. Then maybe we'll undress in my dream.' Nothing changed unless he changed it. He walked over and slid the closet door open, then stared at the ground. Well, that wasn't normal. His eyes skimmed over the boxes stuffed with black notebooks, and wondered if they were all diaries or something. Glancing at the date on the top one, he saw that it was from the first quarter of school when he and Tory had first met.

Suddenly he clenched his fists. Nothing changed unless he changed it. He was sick of being a coward, but he knew he couldn't change himself automatically just by wishing it. He couldn't confess his feelings to an almost-friend because if he was rejected then he'd drive the object of his love away from him. So he'd check into Tory's feelings first. The top notebook wasn't the most recent one from the date, but presumably Tory kept that one with him, so this would have to do.

Glancing behind him at the open doorway, he snatched up the notebook and tucked it under his arm, closing the closet door back to the way he had found it, then picked up the plates and headed hurriedly to the living room after tucking his toes under the bedroom door and pulling it gently shut since his hands were both occupied. Setting the plates down on the coffee table, he stowed the notebook in his backpack and zipped it back up quickly, hearing Tory come in from the hall and head into the kitchen. He slung the backpack over one shoulder and tucked the textbook under his arm, picking up the plates again and timing his walk back to Tory's room as he heard the redhead rushing from the kitchen.

Tory was muttering something about his closet as he stopped in front of his room, and as he reached for the doorknob with a nervous hand, Colin said, "Hello," from right next to him.

Tory jumped. "Gyah!"

"I got the stuff from the living room," Colin said calmly, masking the anxiety he felt from stealing the notebook. His heart was still pounding a little. "Can we finish Chapter 23?"

"Yeah, of course," Tory looked like he was sweating a little, leading the way into his room. Colin set the plates down. "Sorry if my mom or Paul said anything weird at dinner...We are kind of like friends now, right?" He added a little hesitantly.

Colin slung his backpack off his shoulder, clutching it a moment. "Hmmm. Something like that."


When Colin got home that night, he forced himself to go through the protocol of greeting the doctor and explaining why he was gone so long, then through routine, feeding and watering his plants and cats and then getting ready for bed. Only once he was done did he allow himself to curl up in bed, door safely locked and surrounded by a shield of content cats, and crack open the journal.

Only a few sentences in, his eyebrows shot up his forehead. He quickly flipped the page, thinking it was just a fluke, only to find more information about himself. Skimming page after page, he vaguely wondered where Tory obtained this sheer volume of sensitive personal information on him, but he didn't care. He was so happy. He grabbed his favorite cat, the calico, the only one with vivid green eyes that reminded him of Tory, and cuddled it onto his lap, curling up over it and snuggling into it, rubbing his face in the soft fur as he felt tears start to form. He was so happy. So fucking happy. Tory cared. Something was right in his life after all. Tory cared. He cared.

He smiled and leaned back, staring at the ceiling and not bothering to stop the happy stream of tears from his soft gaze, but he suddenly frowned slightly. Tory cared all this time but hadn't done anything about it. Maybe…the redhead was just as nervous as he was? Well, he'd have to fix that, wouldn't he.

After all, nothing changed unless he changed it.

He felt confidence rising in him for the first time and picked the notebook back up, letting it flip open to a random page. He could never get sick of reading about Tory thinking about him. His heart fluttered and he squeezed the notebook to his chest. Mmmm…he went through the pages, savoring them, until he stopped at a segment about Mandy commenting on the idea of him, Colin, wearing short-shorts.

Come to think of it, Mandy had given him a pair not too long ago. At the time he had wondered if she was bat-shit crazy to think he'd look good in them, as she had said he would, or if she even really believed he'd wear them, but now…did she give them to him because Tory's reaction to her comment in the gym was enough of a hint to her? Girls picked up on things like that.

…did Tory like the thought of him in short-shorts? Maybe he did, if he had written the comment down in the notebook.

…did he even still have them? He remembered being offended, storming into his room, and chucking the shorts on the floor, telling his cats to "have at it." Looking up, his eyes wandered to a bit of pink in the corner where his cats usually deposited their toys after they had finished abusing them to pieces. He groaned and got off the bed to view the remains. When he picked them up he unfolded them in disbelief. They were untouched. Was this some sort of sign? He felt his calico rubbing against his leg, purring.

Heading into the bathroom, he slipped out of his pajama pants and pulled the shorts on. They felt a little uncomfortable, restrictive in their tightness, but that was the point, he supposed. Nothing was meant to be left to the imagination. Holding up his too-big nightshirt, he looked at the shorts in the mirror, turning around to read the letters reflected backward across his rear. Suddenly struck by a thought, he bent over, viewing his ass in the floor-length mirror. …even he had to admit it was appealing. At the very least Tory couldn't overlook the blatant flirting the act represented.

He smirked, feeling excitement bubble up inside him. Yea. He could work with this.


Lemme know what you think. The idea just wouldn't leave me alone, and I figured it was a good a way as any to salvage a little of Colin's personality out of my OOC depiction of him in Seduction.