March 12, 2010: *twitch* Adrienne, I don't know whether to shake a fist at you for continually distracting me from finishing the sequel fic I have started... or thank you for getting a direct line to my muse and repeatedly kicking her ass into gear. O_o;;; As requested, Claude/Berger/Sheila. *bows* Just for you, darling. ^_~ And I tried for fluff again, really I did... it just didn't totally want to go there. But... there are a few fluffy parts. And cuddling! Did I mention the cuddling? I should at least get brownie points for that. *nodnod* Enjoy?
*twitch* I just can't help myself. I keep expecting my muse to get tired of this fandom... and she just doesn't. O_o;;; Another one set just before the musical in time -- I swear I do have the next future sequel started, I just keep getting distracted. *falls over*
Fandom: Hair, the new Broadway revival
Pairing: Claude/Berger/Sheila, mentions of Claude/Jeanie
Word Count: 8,651, ~4300 per part.
Warnings: Slash, threesomes.
Disclaimer: Neither the musical nor the boys belong to me, if they did they'd be groping each other on sta--. *pause* *blinkblink* Huh. Look at that... they do. *eg*
Warnings: Still slash. ^_^ Erm... and some het, too? *twitch* Watch out for falling threesomes. O_o;;;
Minor note: Oh -- and for those of you who have no idea who I'm talking about when you get to the part where she's mentioned once or twice, Suzanne is the Tribe member played by Megan Reinking -- the lead in the Black Boys trio. I always liked her and the last time I saw the show, I noticed that her character is, in fact, mentioned by name. XD It's when Crissy is trying to get out of going home with Woof and asks "Walter" if she can go home with him. He, in turn, asks Suzanne (Megan Reinking) if she minds. Not that important, it isn't like she has a major part in the fic -- goodness, and not even until Chapter 2 O_o -- but I was happy to have another official name to play with. ^_^
Looking out at the steadily falling rain, Claude couldn't help but think that someone was having a great laugh at his expense. He was supposed to have met Berger in Central Park today. The younger boy had hinted that he had something "fun" for they and Sheila to do that day. Claude snorted. "Fun". That was usually Berger-speak for "Incredibly hot sex that is probably illegal in some or all states." Then again, their entire relationship was probably illegal in some or all states.
Leaning his head against the glass, Claude sighed. He still wasn't entirely sure how the younger boy had talked him into this thing to begin with. It was all so confused. In the beginning, when he'd first met the Tribe, he'd been drawn to Sheila like the proverbial moth to a flame. She was bright and passionate and seemed somehow otherworldly -- like she was too good for this Earth. She was safe, easy to love. It was the kind of love that didn't require touching or actual contact, the kind of love you felt for a religious icon or a celebrity. You sat at their feet and gazed up at them on their pedestals and considered the love consummated if they so much as smiled in your general direction. Easy. No strings attached... uncomplicated.
At the complete polar opposite end of the spectrum was George Berger. There was nothing otherworldly about that boy. He immersed himself in the basest, dirtiest, most physical pieces of the world he could find -- be they drugs, sex or something silly like rolling around in the mud of the park after a lengthy spring rain. Claude envied him. He envied him so fiercely it made him ache at times. To be able to just let go of yourself like that... to just be in the moment, whatever that moment was. To be completely comfortable in your own skin and to have utter faith that your friends would love you not in spite of your eccentricities... but because of them. Maybe that was what drew him, that complete confidence of self, that unapologetic way he had of throwing himself at the world and daring it to do its worst... and then reveling in it when it did. Claude wanted to be that way, wanted to be able to throw off the shackles of his suburban, everyday existence. But he couldn't. Which brought him back to why he was here and not indulging his friend's whims in the Park.
To say that his father had been less than pleased when he'd dropped out of school earlier that year was like saying that Noah's flood had been caused by a little drizzle. He hadn't even tried to understand, not that Claude could have explained his reasons if he'd been asked. Ever since then they tiptoed around each other, each afraid to upset the balance of silence that was keeping the powder keg of their home from being lit by a stray spark. He dropped hints like boulders that if Claude was going to decline the chance to get an education, he could at least go earn a paycheck. But Claude could no longer take on some menial, soul-killing job than he could bow to the whims of institutional education.
His mother was worried about him. Claude would have to be blind not to see that. Unlike his father, she didn't really care what he did as long as he was happy. Were it not for his father's growing irritation she would have gladly supported him for life. Then again, mothers are like that. No, what really caused her agitation was the timing of his dropping out of school. She was all too well aware that his 18th birthday had passed just a few short months ago... and in another few short months, he would be draft fodder just like everyone other male his age. Most days he was able to shake off her worry and its consequent extreme mother-henning behavior. Some days he couldn't. Like today.
He'd been halfway out the door when she'd caught him. First she'd demanded he change his clothes, or at the very least let her iron them. When he'd managed to dodge that bullet, she'd let the next one fly -- she didn't want him leaving the house wearing her beads. Really, he'd have thought she'd let that one go by now. Not wanting to fight that particular fight today he'd given in and taken them off. That was the wrong move, though, and he knew it the minute he saw the light go on behind her eyes. By then it was too late. She had the bit in her teeth and she was off: there was a storm coming, the city was too dangerous on a day like today, she couldn't spare him the money for the subway (he could have gotten around that one except for not wanting to explain that he usually jumped the turnstile anyway), she was making a special dinner that night (which should have clued him in except that between Sheila and Berger he'd been so damned preoccupied lately)... and then there was the final coup-de-grace. With tears in her eyes that Claude couldn't convince himself were fake, she'd demanded to know why her only son couldn't take one day out from his busy schedule of lollygagging around with his friends to celebrate her birthday.
Damn it. At the time, he could only stare at her, slack-jawed and wide-eyed. Sure, he'd been preoccupied lately, but how could he have been so preoccupied as to forget his mother's birthday? Embarrassed and feeling outmaneuvered, Claude had backed down before his mother could prep for round two. The only thing he was sorry about, other than losing his free day, was that he had no way to contact Berger or Sheila to tell them he wouldn't be there. By now they'd already be at the park. Finally, in a moment of inspiration, he called Crissy. She might be flighty, but when push came to shove, he knew she could be counted on -- and more importantly, at this time on a Friday, she'd just be getting home from school. Sure enough, when he'd called she'd answered and promised to tell the rest of the Tribe why he wasn't there. Feeling somewhat better, he'd gone back up to his room to thunk his head against the wall for a while. Anything was better than sitting downstairs waiting for his father to get home and fending off his mother's guilt-inducing stares.
It wasn't more than an hour or two later when the doorbell rang. Claude came back out of his musings with a start. His mother had assured him that they weren't expecting any guests tonight. With her friends having planned a party for the coming weekend, tonight was just for family. And his father wouldn't have rung the bell... He crept to the top of the stairs, intently listening for any voice that he might recognize. It was with a sinking heart and roiling stomach that he realized that he did recognize the voices downstairs... and they belonged to Berger and Sheila.
Shocked into movement, Claude raced down the steps and into the foyer. His mother was standing there, an uncertain yet polite look on her face. Claude had sudden cause to wonder if he'd ever even mentioned either of his friends to his parents. He couldnt remember. Berger's green eyes lifted to lock onto his and flashed with eager mischief. There was no counting the different kinds of trouble the younger boy could get him into in this situation. Thank G-d Sheila was there.
As though she'd heard the thought, Sheila reached out a hand and tugged on Berger's sleeve to redirect his attention. She did it with almost no conscious thought, as though it were a reflexive action rather than a planned one. Berger obliged by resuming his earlier expression of polite interest as he listened to Sheila discussing something with his mother. Feeling numb and somewhat fatalistic, Claude finally got himself out of the doorway and over to the group as it slowly started to shift into the living room. He grabbed Berger's hand to prevent him from following the women as they left the room. Pressing close to the younger boy he dropped his voice into a harsh whisper, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Berger simply smiled, eyes twinkling and cheeks dimpling, "Crissy told us it was your mom's birthday, so I thought we should bring a present." His smile widening, Berger leaned closer and pressed a butterfly kiss to Claude's temple, "Take it easy, Claudio. I was just escorting Sheila. I'm not staying... much as I'd like to." That last was said with such a strong flavor of innuendo that Claude could only be grateful that he meant it.
Letting out a breath, Claude forced himself to relax, "So where is this present?"
Berger laughed as he responded, "In the living room chatting with your mom." Seeing Claude's thoroughly nonplussed expression, he explained, "You're always complaining about your parents getting on your case about your life, right? You're not in school, you don't have a job, you don't have a girlfriend. Well, I can't do anything to get you cut any slack on the first two counts... but I sure as hell can on the third... 'cuz thanks to me, you do have a girlfriend." The impishness oozed back into Berger's expression, "So, I figure if we make her real for them, they'll at least get off your back about that... and just may let you out of the house more often with less fuss."
Claude's mouth dropped open in shock, then snapped shut again almost as fast when he saw how quickly Berger's eyes dropped down from his to fix on said open mouth. As much as he wanted to give in to the sudden wash of heat between them, he couldn't afford that, not here, not now, not in his parents' house. When he finally got himself back under control, he threw his arms around Berger in a tight hug, "Berger... you're a genius."
The younger boy just laughed as he returned the hug, "So people tell me." Releasing Claude, Berger stepped back, "Now with that good deed done for the day, I'm heading back." Winking at the older boy, he finished with, "Since I'm not saddled with the two of you for the night, I'll have to go find someone else to amuse myself with."
As he saw his friend out, Claude couldn't help the laugh that bubbled forth -- someone, not something. That was so like Berger... Hearing his name called from the other room, Claude hurried to join the two women. As grateful as he was for Sheila's presence and as eager as he was for this to work, he wasn't fooling himself. They would both have to be extremely careful not to accidentally reveal something that he didn't want his parents to know. It would be like dancing around landmines... but at least he had a partner for this particular dance.
Claude had to admit, dinner had gone far better than he'd had any right to hope. His mother had been completely enchanted with Sheila and had monopolized her attention for most of the evening. His father had been harder to win over. He had obviously been pleased with his choice to have a girlfriend, but it was equally obvious that he was less than pleased with his choice of girlfriend -- then again, with his father any win was still a win, even if it was only a partial win. He could almost see his father ticking off the negative points in his head through dinner: Sheila was too independent, too forthright for his tastes. He preferred his women perfectly coifed and clad in 1950s style dresses while puttering diligently around the kitchen. Seeing a woman dressed in pants with unbound hair -- and in college, no less -- was a bit of a bruise to his ego. Still, no one could deny that Sheila was unbelievably charming when she wanted to be... and she had wanted to be. By the end of the evening, she had his father's grudging approval, even with his earlier misgivings.
And it was simply amazing how once it became a question of escorting Sheila home or letting her take the subway back to the city this late alone, suddenly his parents had money for him to buy a token... and to buy one for "his girl." He'd had to fight back a blush of shame at the laughing twinkle in Sheila's eyes during that exchange. Unlike Berger, though, she would never comment on something like that, not wanting to get him in unnecessary trouble.
Wanting to recoup at least some of the day, he'd informed his parents that he would be spending the night at Sheila's. Then Sheila had caught it as his father frowned and prepared to launch into what would, no doubt, have been a blistering speech about the impropriety of such an action and that he would march himself straight home after dropping her off. Before he could speak, she forced a pretty little blush onto her face and placed a light hand on his father's arm, "Mr. Bukowski, the very thought! I do have a couch. Claude is welcome to use it, as always. I wouldn't dream of sending him home alone so late -- it just isn't safe. Besides, my roommate is away this weekend... and I'd feel so much better if Claude could stay with me." Smiling brightly up at him as she twined an arm around his, she had added the finishing touch, "Having him around makes me feel so much safer." It had been all Claude could do not to let his mouth drop open at the dissembling. A fortunate thing as her reaction had mollified his parents.
When they finally escaped from the house and were safely down the block, it only took one look at each other to send them both into raucous fits of laughter. Claude calmed first and pulled Sheila into a tight embrace, tucking her securely against him as he kissed her forehead, "Forget politics, Sheila, you should be an actress! That was amazing!"
Sheila laughed before pulling away to drop into an elaborate stage curtsy. When she came up out of it she launched herself at him, wrapping her long legs firmly around his waist as he caught her. Looking down at him, she gave him a warm smile, "Well, it's true! I do have a couch and you are welcome to use it..."
As she angled her head down, he raised his up so he could meet her lips in a gentle kiss. Kisses between them were always gentle -- not like with Berger. It seemed irreverent somehow, to treat her with the same lasciviousness that he and Berger treated each other. Oh, he knew she could take it, hell would probably welcome it -- he'd seen her with Berger, after all, and there were certainly no holds barred between the two of them -- but with him... it was just different. He couldn't explain why it was, it just was. Maybe it was his father's attitude towards women rubbing off on him, or maybe it was the small amount of hero worship he still held for the young activist college student... ah, who knows.
When she lifted her head and smiled down at him, he loosened his grip so she could put her feet back down on the ground. Once she was standing again, she slipped her left arm through the crook of his right and started leading them down the street to the station. It was always like that with her -- she led, he followed. Really, he was like that with everyone. They led... he followed. The only time he'd rebelled against that basic natural order was when he'd dropped out of school. With a mental snort, he thought, And just look at how well that worked out for you, Claude. Six months later and you still don't know what the hell you're doing with your life.
They jumped the subway turnstile to save the 40 cents -- pooled together with whatever their friends had scrounged up, it would probably buy them breakfast tomorrow. They settled down in the corner of the subway car, Sheila sprawled in his lap and occasionally offering a jaunty wave to the disapproving older couples in the middle of the car. Claude just smiled and wrapped his arms around her. It was moments like this that made him understand how she had gotten on so well with Berger before he came along -- she had just as wide a wicked streak as he did. Hers was just buried deeper.
Once they were off the subway, Sheila pulled him up short with a soft smile, "So... are you going to finish walking me home, Claude?"
Claude's heart sputtered for a few beats and then tripped into a more rapid pattern. In spite of what they said, in his heart of hearts he still thought of Sheila as Berger's girlfriend... not really his. It was easy to ignore when the three of them were together. Berger had enough brass for all of them and he didn't tolerate Claude being shy. But when it was just he and Sheila... it seemed wrong, somehow. Like cheating.
Sensing his sudden discomfort, Sheila lifted a hand to rest against Claude's cheek, "Never mind, Claude. It's OK. Why don't we head over to the park and see if anyone knows where he got off to, all right?"
No need to ask who "he" was. Not trusting his voice to respond, Claude simply nodded. It was uncanny how well she understood him, sometimes. She always seemed to know what he needed before he even knew he needed it. It still amazed him that she'd been so gracious as to include him in the love she and Berger shared. It was humbling being even a small part of it. It made him want more, but as Berger had once so eloquently put it, he didn't know more of what... and he didn't intend to find out. He was grateful enough for the tolerance the two of them showed him. It would be selfish to try grasping for more than they'd already willingly given.
It wasn't that long a walk to the Park, but Claude found himself irrationally wishing for it to take longer. It wasn't that he didn't want to find Berger... it was just that it was rare for him to have this time alone with Sheila and not feel guilty about it. And as long as they were just walking, holding hands, enjoying the moonlight, he didn't feel like he was cheating. He felt... romantic, like he had something to give her that Berger couldn't. It almost made him want to rethink his non-answer to Sheila's earlier question, to grab this chance while he didn't feel the need to apologize for it. They found Jeanie before he could.
He could tell right away that something was off. The tow-haired girl was sitting under a tree with her knees tucked to her chest and a faraway look on her face. Not that the spaced out look was anything unusual, but the curled, defensive posture certainly was. It was something he'd always admired about Jeanie -- she was one of the freest, most graceful and open people he knew. He'd been enchanted by her when he first joined the Tribe. He was still very fond of her... it just wasn't the same. But this... something was off.
Sheila could sense it, too, and knelt down beside the other blonde. Putting a comforting hand on the taller girl's shoulder, she murmured a question, "Is everything all right, Jeanie?"
Jeanie startled, only just now seeming to notice that she had company. Seeing Claude hovering above her, her lips stretched into a beaming smile, "Claudio... were you worried?"
As usual, the obvious adoration in that gaze made him distinctly uncomfortable. He wasn't worthy of it and he knew it. He wasn't anything that special. Why couldn't Jeanie see that? Offering a half shrug, he answered, "We're part of the same Tribe, aren't we? Of course I was worried."
The smile stayed firmly stretched over her lips, but fell from her eyes. Claude felt a momentary clutch of guilt over that, but pushed it aside. Jeanie let the smile fall open into a small laugh as she did her own share of pushing aside, this time of their worry, "That's sweet, but you don't have to be. I'm copasetic. Totally groovy, man."
Sheila frowned, "That's not all you are. You're high, Jeanie."
The younger blonde tipped her head against Sheila's shoulder and beamed another smile up at her, "As a kite, man! Got some really good stuff -- want to share?"
Now it was Claude's turn to frown, "You shouldn't do that sort of thing alone, Jeanie. What if something happened?"
Pulling away from Sheila and climbing carefully to her feet, Jeanie made her way over to Claude and draped herself over him. The smile was back in her eyes as she beamed up at him, "You really are worried about me, Claudio!" She bussed a small kiss to the corner of his jaw and snuggled herself against him.
Extremely uncomfortable, Claude nonetheless wrapped an arm around the girl to keep her upright. He shot a desperate look towards Sheila which she missed entirely, her gaze being focused in the opposite direction. Turning to look where she was looking, he felt no small amount of relief to see Berger approaching with Crissy. The smaller girl was talking and gesturing animatedly. Berger was listening attentively -- or at least pretending he was. He was good at that -- making you feel like you had his full attention when really his mind had wandered off for parts unknown.
When they reached the three blondes, Berger took one look at Jeanie and laughed, "You weren't kidding, Crissy. She sure did start partying without us, but it looks like you don't need my help to get her back to everyone else, after all... so I'm gonna go."
Sheila, being closer, beat Claude to it. She balled up a fist and punched Berger in the shin. The other boy let out a startled yelp and grabbed his leg, hopping around on one foot. After a few hops, he turned a hurt gaze on Sheila who just smiled sweetly as she stood up from the ground. He coughed and ducked his head, mumbling, "Or I guess I could help Claude carry her..."
With a relieved look, Claude guided Jeanie over so that Berger could take half of her weight. Whatever she'd smoked, it was clearly some powerful stuff. She was so far out of it that Claude was frankly impressed that she'd even recognized them. She kept lifting her hands like she was conducting something and humming under her breath. As they walked and she tipped back and forth between them, he would catch an occasional word or phrase, but nothing that really made sense -- something about deep breathing and sulfur.
The walk towards the Tribe's usual meeting place was silent, except for Sheila and Crissy's quiet murmurings and Jeanie's occasional bursts of song. Just before they reached the clearing, she tilted back towards him and mumbled something in his ear. When Claude finally puzzled out what she'd said, he almost dropped her. Berger shot him a confused glance and Claude shook his head. Later. He'd think about it later.
What had Jeanie said that shook him so badly?
I hope it's yours.
Claude: *gapes* You're kidding. *grabs the fic author and shakes her* What the hell is it with you and leaving me out on ledges???
R-chan: *blinks innocently* It's fun?
Claude: *stares* *slumps* I don't know how much longer I can do this.
Nuriko: *patpats* Just wait until you hit year 10 and you finally have started to let yourself think she might really be done with you this time... and then she starts again.
R-chan: *eyes Nuriko* Do you want to get sex anytime this millennium?
Nuriko: *makes zipping motions over his lips*
R-chan: *smirks* That's better.
Questions, comments, popcorn?
Berger: *twitch* I'm just not gonna.
Sheila: *nods* Wise choice.
Coming Soon: We finally learn what Jeanie meant by that cryptic statement... and madness ensues.