This (ahem) interesting concoction of a tale was created for a challenge on WendWriter's forum Can We Talk?. The prompt was "Before the Beginning", meaning the story had to take place before the show began, and there had to be an allusion to a role the main character would play in the future. See if you can catch it.

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In Which Derek Worries, Nick Flirts, and Philip Beats Nick with Football Cleats

Or

K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Dr. Derek Rayne, precept of San Francisco House and master of less than half of all he surveyed, was in a terrible mood. Jon Boyle had become inundated with beer at the Christmas party and had decided to lap dance with the Prime Minister of Japan's wife. Then, London Ruling House decided to call at midnight to check up on things "because one never knows what is going on in San Francisco, Derek." Indeed.

That was not to mention the ghost in the attic who had moaned for five hours because he wanted his slippers or the demon who had covered the master bath in oodles of green slime. At this rate, Derek realized, he would have enough explanations and paperwork to keep him at his desk through the New Year.

"Derek?"

The quiet Irish accent startled Derek out of his fog. Philip Callahan was leaning against the doorframe, panting and covered with grass stains. Derek smiled at the boy. "Philip! How was the football game?"

"All right, I guess. I was th' goalie."

"Just all right?" Derek frowned. Children in a Legacy House were few and far between; he had expected the teenager to brighten his day, not weigh it down with more worries. "Why? What's wrong?"

"Nothin'. Well," Philip admitted, "not nothin'. Derek, why do girls keep followin' me everywhere I go?"

Derek hastily choked back laughter. Philip's eyes had widened so that he looked deathly serious. "I would think that would be a compliment, Philip. It means they like you!"

"I know they like me, but why do they have t' always squeal and giggle?" He wrinkled his nose. "A couple of them even tried to follow me into the confessional…Then, Ellen caught me in th' loo. I don't know which was worse, th' girl's gigglin' or Father Forler's scoldin'. He had me do another penance for somethin' that wasn't even my fault!"

This time, Derek did chuckle. Philip shot him a dirty look. "It's not funny! It's embarrassing! Nick won't get off my case for it."

"I'm afraid you may have to deal with this for a while," Derek pointed out gently. "As you grow up, you'll meet even more women, which means—"

"—even more girls will be followin' me. Oh, Mother of God," Philip groaned. He collapsed into an armchair and flung a hand up over his face. "Nick will never forgive me for it. I'll have to be—what's th' word for someone who doesn't get married?"

"Celibate."

"Celibate, yeah. I'll be celibate."

Derek smirked. "What about your professional football career?"

"Then," Philip said simply, "I'll be th' first celibate football player."

"Good luck." Derek grumbled something Dutch under his breath as the phone began to ring. "I'm sorry, little one. I have to take this call. London Ruling will have my head otherwise."

Philip seemed to have picked up the mumbling-under-one's-breath habit from Derek. "Last I checked, sixteen wasn't little anymore," he grumbled as he trooped upstairs to his bedroom. "Maybe if it were, th' girls would leave me alone. I wish Ellen would back off. It was fun in th' beginning, but now she's just bein' ridiculous. Followin' me into Confession--!"

"Philip! Philip! Philip!" a voice hissed.

Philip chuckled and turned to his friend. "Nick! Nick! Nick!"

"Philip and Ellen, sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"

"Oh, really? I like this one better: Nick and Julia, sittin' in a tree…"

"Shut up!"

"Ooh, I'll tell Father Forler—oomph!" Nick slammed into Philip's side, and the two began a rather vicious fight in which football cleats were used to Philip's advantage. The two only halted their tussle when a musical giggle sounded from the stairwell.

All the blood drained from Philip's face as two girls with dark hair slipped up the stairs and sauntered past.

"Hi, Philip!" said Ellen.

"Well, hello, Nicholas!" said Julia.

Both boys stared after the pair until they vanished into Julia's bedroom. Nick turned to Philip with dark eyes stretched wide.

"You can stay single, man. I'll take the ladies!"


Note: For all of my fellow Americans, "football" means "soccer" in this story.

Apologies to the real Father Forler, who is not nearly so grumpy as this one.

Reviews are always appreciated, especially if they contain constructive criticism.

Love y'all,

Icey