A.N: I have no idea where this came from, or even where it fits into canon. Shoutout to Azurefalls (there's a teensytiny shoutout in the 'fic too =D). It's loosely, loosely based on a song. See if you can guess which one!
Disclaimer: Why yes, it is MINE ALL MINE...obviousleee...
Jack scuffed his shoes along the cobbles. They were falling apart, the seams splitting and the colour fading, but Jack didn't care. They were his.
Jack stopped dead, closed his eyes. There was no point in trying to outrun them, or calling for help, he knew that now. So he simply stood, shoulders hunched, and waited for them to catch up.
Jack heard their calls and insults, but failed to register them anymore. He'd heard them all before. He felt the blows and kicks, saw his bag land in the dirt, heard the snap of his glasses. Then, finally, the thud of their retreating footfalls. Jack gathered up his things, adjusted his glasses, and kept walking, hurrying down the narrow ally before anyone else could stop him. It was a Tuesday, and Tuesdays meant only one thing to Jack.
As soon as he reached the old, faintly dilapidated building, the knot in Jack's chest began to loosen. Opening the door, calling out a greeting and breathing in the smell of sawdust, greasepaint and heavy air, Jack felt a smile tugging at the corners of this mouth. He was home.
Five minutes later, Jack had changed into a loose-fitting shirt and leggings, washed away the grit from the rapidly congealing mess on his left elbow and sellotaped his glasses. Giving the mirror a cheery grin, he set off for the auditorium.
People had raised their eyebrows, the first time Jack came to the theatre for an audition. Someone who spent their entire life trying to hide and blend into the background wasn't someone who would willingly stand up in front of hundreds of people and make a fool of himself. But to Jack, it made perfect sense. The audience didn't see his freaky glasses, his awkward stammer, his spots, his grubby clothes. They saw someone else…someone they loved, feared, felt for. That was what had drawn Jack to the stage, had given him a way to prove himself, a hunger to show people what he could do.
Jack burst into the kitchen, high on adrenaline and excitement.
"Mum, guess what!"
"Caro has asked me to draft something that the under-tens can show at Christmas!"
"You know," Jack tried hard not to let her non-reaction hurt him. "The director. At Theatre Scope."
"Oh, your drama club teacher?"
"Mum! It's not a club. You have to audition. And you don't pay."
"OK, OK, so what about her?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "I'm writing the Christmas show for the under-tens."
"But, honey," her voice wasn't excited. It wasn't even happy. "You've got exams in a few weeks."
"Mum! They're only mocks! And I promise I'll revise, anyway!"
"Oh, I don't know," his mother sighed. "I'll talk to your dad tomorrow."
Jack still hadn't quite shaken off the angry disappointed by the time he got to school the next morning. His stomach churned as he saw the masse of boys outside the gates. Head down, rucksack pulled protectively over his back, Jack decided to make a run for it today.
"Oi, we're talking to you!"
"You hear, Harkness?"
The words bounced off his retreating back, and Jack began to feel good again. At least one thing was going right today.
"Oi!" Jack turned, almost out of instinct, and wasn't quick enough to dodge the muddy ball that had been aiming for his head but left a circle of dirt on his shirt instead.
He also wasn't quick enough to avoid seeing the face behind the arm that had thrown it
"Oh, nice one, Gray!"
The laughter and high-fives surrounding his brother followed Jack nearly all the way to the theatre.
"All right, Jack?"
He whirled around. "Si! Hey!"
"Heard about you writing the kids' Christmas show. Well done, mate," Simon grinned.
"Thanks," Jack smiled, hesitating before adding, "You auditioning for 'Shop next week?"
"Should be," Simon admitted with a sort of shifty grin. "Got to OK it with the parents first. You?"
"Oh, you should go up for it! You'd be brill as Seymour!"
"Yeah," Simon nodded emphatically. Jack, caught by Simon's proximity, was possessed by a sudden and inexplicable urge to somehow bridge the gap between them.
The bell rang, loud and insistent, and Jack grinned a quick goodbye before rushing to English. As he ran, Jack had to fight from keeping the half-painful, half-amazing rush of adrenaline from escaping in a laugh, a scream, a…something.
Stop it, he told himself. You're over dramatising it again.
The voice was familiar, commanding, layered with emotion. He couldn't help himself; he walked forwards, his feet crunching on the shingled beach.
The figure had his back to him, but even from here Jack knew who it was.
The voice had a new edge to it, now, and Jack was suddenly aware that the speaker's back was bare, the muscles gleaming, curving down to the yellow elastic of a pair of swimming trunks. Looking down, Jack saw that he, too, was wearing only a pair of blue shorts.
Jack knew what the edge to the voice was, now. It wasn't something he could describe. It was a hunger, an expression of power and a sweet call, all at once. His legs started moving of their own accord again, breaking into an almost-run.
He brought one arm up to lay it on the speaker's shoulder, feeling the heat of sun-warmed skin and pumping veins there. Slowly, the speaker turned around.
"Jack," Simon smiled, bridging the gap between their heads and meeting Jack's suddenly parched lips with-
Jack's eyes flew open, an uncomfortable heat in his head and chest.
Again with the over dramatising, he thought, turning back onto the pillow. Just stop it.
The noise in Jack's head was a roaring as he mechanically applied a final touch of powder, adjusted his collar and snapped on the braces. Plant #1 was waiting offstage left, with Carrie waiting to put in on his arm. Plant #2 was under the table in the stage right wings, #3 was behind the screen and #4 was in the props room. Nat had been taught how to walk, run and dance in her stilettos, Jason had been practising his song non-stop for the last four hours and Simon – Simon was probably checking over his dentist's chair, drill and mask in the same way Jack was checking over all the Audrey Twos.
Focus, that's what he needed now. Focus. He did not need to be thinking about…any of the other actors right now.
As the younger girls began the feet-tapping, finger-snapping opening number, Jack checked over everything one last time before hiding behind the curtain in the wings. He couldn't do this, he realised that now. He couldn't just…walk onstage and start talking. He'd hide here, that was a better idea. Maybe no one would notice.
Simon had only whispered but Jack jumped, stumbling over a forgotten box of flowers and nearly crashing to the floor before he felt hands under his elbows, lifting him back up.
"I can't do this, Si."
"Jack. Don't be stupid. 'Course you can. Just go up there and say the first word. You'll get into it just fine. Kay?"
"No! I can't remember my lines!"
"It'll come back. It always does, ok?" Jack felt soft, curving, calloused skin in his hand and stared at Simon's smiling face, suddenly grateful for the dark.
"You go, Jack. Your cue." With the slightest of pressures, Simon released Jack's hand and gave him a gentle push out into the lights.
Flushed from the stage lights and adrenaline, the cast lined up to take their bows. To a roaring applause, Jack took his solo, and indicated the Orchestra before stepping back into line to take Simon's hand and let Nat step forward.
"Jack, I-" Simon had started whispering something, and then petered out. Jack could hear him swallow loudly and then start again. "Jack, I wanted to tell…to ask you something."
"Yes," replied Jack, head facing straight out, not moving a muscle but just about ready to burst. "Me too."
AN: The song was "The Doctor and I", sung by John Barrowman. Basically, there's a fiction competition on Sparklife where you have to write something based on a song. So I started writing something quite fanfictiony about this song, which slowly melded into an angsty thing about a bullied kid who uses Drama as an escape. But then I started trying to make it more like the song (ie cheerful) again and...this is what I ended up with 0_o I know, I know, I'm just as confuzzled as you are.
Oh, and another thing: I really wanted to make this Theta/Koschei but then the whole Little Shop of Horrors wouldn't really have worked. But now I'm going to write a Theta/Koschei one! Heehee