Dwayne was sitting in his room working on his homework when the doorbell rang. It was never for him, so he didn't let it bother him, and he went back to focusing on his English paper. However, only a few seconds later, there was a knock at the door.

"Come in," Dwayne called, assuming it was Olive.

"Hey, someone's here to see you." Sheryl smiled, pushing the door open to reveal Declan standing there.

"Oh, hey." Dwayne gulped, closing his copy of Hamlet and standing up. "Um…I didn't know you were coming over."

"Thought I'd surprise you, is that okay?" Declan asked.

"Um, yeah, sure." Dwayne nodded.

"Okay, well I'm gonna leave you two." Sheryl left, closing the door behind her, and Dwayne went back to sitting on the bed, though his English paper was already forgotten. He didn't know what he was supposed to say to Declan, he had not been expecting the boy to show up here, and he felt nervous. He wasn't used to having people around who weren't his family, and even then, he did his best to give them as wide a berth as possible.

"So, what are you up to?" Declan asked, taking a seat in Dwayne's desk chair.

"Just doing the Hamlet paper." He shrugged.

"Oh yeah?" Declan tilted his head to the side. "What's your topic?"

"I'm writing about how I believe that pretending to be insane actually drove Hamlet to madness." Dwayne shrugged.

"Oh, so you think if he had never pretended to go crazy, he wouldn't have gone crazy?"

"I guess it's possible." Dwayne shrugged. "But I'm arguing against it, you know…going through the motions. The paper will get a good grade because it's different, that's how the teachers work…they want to see that you read the text and that you thought about it in a way that isn't cliché."

"Dwayne, I don't think you have to worry about being a cliché." Declan laughed, leaning back in the chair.

"What does that mean?" Dwayne asked.

"I don't think that there's anything about you that's even close to being a cliché."

"Oh." Dwayne shrugged. "Well…what's your paper on?"

"I don't know, I haven't started yet…it's not due for over a week." Declan shrugged.

"I know. I guess I like to get a head start on things." He looked down, feeling a little foolish. Part of the reason why he always did his homework ahead of time was because he didn't have anything else to do. His plans of being a pilot had been crushed, so his workout routine, while still active sometimes, didn't seem as important, and he didn't have a new goal. He was going through the motions, but the thing that he had spent the past few years working for was gone.

"You're definitely not a cliché." Declan smiled. "No high school kid acts like you do."

"Oh, I'm sorry." Dwayne bit his lip, looking down.

"No, no." He shook his head. "Don't be sorry, you're different, that's not a bad thing." Declan shrugged. "I like it, actually."

"Really?" Dwayne tilted his head to the side. "Most people around here push away anything that's different."

"Or they think that you're pushing them away by being different," Declan countered.

"Are we really going to get into why people hate me again?" Dwayne asked, his voice started to rise. "Is that why you came here?"

"No, no, relax." Declan smiled, getting up and moving to sit next to Dwayne. "Calm down, you get worked up way too easily." He rubbed Dwayne's back gently. "I came here because I had a question for you."

"Okay." Dwayne nodded. "Shoot."

"I was wondering if you wanted to go out on a date with me tonight."

"W-what?" Dwayne's eyes widened as he looked up at Declan. He had really not been expecting that. They were just starting to get to know each other, a date was not what he had had in mind as the next step of their friendship, and he couldn't imagine that it was what Declan had had in mind, or at least he wouldn't have guessed it.

"A date," Declan stated. "You know, two people who like each other go out, maybe get something to eat, maybe go to a movie, get to know each other a little better, spend some alone time together…asker pays."

"I know what a date is," Dwayne whispered. "I just…I don't…I wasn't, I'm not…"

"You've never been on a date before?" Declan asked.

"Well no, but that's not the point."

"Then what is?" Declan asked, a smile on his face as he tilted his head to the side. "I know that you like me, Dwayne, you can't deny that – you kissed me last night, or don't you remember? I believe it was twice on the lips and once on the cheek? That's usually a pretty fair indicator that you like someone."

"I know, I just…I wasn't expecting this." Dwayne bit his lip. "I'm not sure what to do."

"Well you could say yes," Declan led, reaching out and taking Dwayne's hand. "Going on a date, it's not the end of the world. It's a commitment, it's not saying that you're crazy, passionately in love with someone, it's just saying that you like them enough to take them out for a bit of a test drive." He shrugged. "It can be casual, we can just go grab something to eat and talk, okay? Get to know each other better."

"You want to get to me better?" Dwayne asked.

"We've been over this." Declan rolled his eyes. "Dwayne, you fascinate me, you're different from everyone else, I like different, and I want to get to know who you really are." He bit his lip. "I know that you keep a lot back, and I want to get to know the person that you try to keep everyone from meeting."

"Why would you want to get to know that person?" Dwayne asked. "Trust me, he's not worth knowing."

"He isn't?" Declan tipped his head to the side, a playful smile still gracing his lips.

"No." Dwayne shook his head, looking down at the floor and away from Declan. "He's not. There's nothing remarkable or interesting about him, he's lacking substance and he's really just, well like I said…he's not worth knowing."

"Hmm." Declan tapped his chin. "Well why don't you let me be the judge of that, okay? After all, we are our own worst critic."

"I don't know…" Dwayne bit his lip. Hadn't he decided to let Declan in? Hadn't he decided that it was worth giving it a shot just so that he could feel the way that he did when Declan was around him? He wanted to get closer to this boy, but he was now afraid that when Declan got closer to him, he wouldn't like the Dwayne that he found.

"What's the worst that could happen, really?" Declan asked. "We realize we're not compatible in that way, we stay friends and you get a free meal."

"Free meal?" Dwayne furrowed his eyebrows.

"Remember what I said?" Declan shoved Dwayne playfully. "The asker pays."

"Oh." Dwayne took a deep breath before nodding. "Okay, we can give it a shot."

"Great." Declan smiled. "I'll be back to pick you up at 8."

"You don't just want to meet somewhere?" Dwayne asked.

"No." Declan shook his head. "Declan Forrester doesn't do things that way. If we're going on a date, we're doing it right."

"Aren't we already kind of messing up by both being male?" Dwayne asked.

"Oh wake up and smell the coffee, Iverson." Declan smiled as he stood up, heading for the door. "It's the 21st century. I'll see you at 8." With that, he left Dwayne's room, leaving the other boy in shock and awe. This was definitely nothing he had ever experienced, and he wasn't sure how to take it.


A/N Alright, so I'm a little curious right now. I know that some of guys like Declan and some of you guys really don't, so I'm wondering how you guys feel about him and how you feel about him and Dwayne - I'd love some feedback - also, if you have any ideas, I'm open to suggestions, this story isn't as mapped out as some of my other ones have been in the past.