Life Through the Ages
AU Bo throughout his life. It's not simple, but he likes it well enough. He has Brooke and he has Jimmy and he couldn't ask for more. JimBo.
I've never written in present tense before this. It's really weird. :/ Anyway, read it; review it; let me know how you like or don't like it.
The number over each section is Bo's age in each scene, fyi.
Elizabeth and Michael Tabbot have been debating on the perfect name for their child for months. As the pregnancy draws to an end, Elizabeth wants "Bo" and Michael wants "John". Then, nine and a half months in, time is up and they must make a final decision. He's born at 5 lbs 2 ounces – a healthy baby boy, but Elizabeth doesn't make it. Only minutes after holding her baby, her eyes shut for the last time and her breath stills.
When asked what name to put on the birth certificate, Michael says, "Bo Tabbot," and looks at his sleeping baby's face with tears in his eyes.
As Mother's Day nears, the kids in day care begin making gifts for their mothers. For the first time, little Bo realizes that maybe his family isn't like everyone else's. And he wonders where his mother is.
His father says his mother is with God. He says she loves him and that she's watching over him, even though Bo can't see her. His father hands him a photo of his mother at four months pregnant with his father in their little house. It makes Bo smile and he treasures the framed image because it is the only picture he'll ever have of his family.
At day care, one of the older kids asks Bo where his mother is. "With God," Bo answers proudly.
He is put in time out for punching the older kid in the nose when the kid laughed at him and said his mom was dead.
When he is let out of time out, a little girl with her brown hair in braided pigtails comes over and looks him straight in the eyes. "Your mommy's with God in heawen?" she asks, holding her stuffed dog to her chest tightly.
"Yea," Bo answers defiantly, holding his chin up high.
She smiles at him. "Then she knows my daddy!" she half-cheers. "He went to God last year. I still really miss him. But I bet he likes it. There's probly ponies and fishes up there. Daddy loved fishes. Your mommy liked fishes?"
Bo shakes his head and squints his eyes. "No!" he denies forcefully. "She liked daddy and me!"
The little girl smiles. "Brooke!" she announces loudly, holding out one tiny hand to Bo while the other keeps a hold of her dog.
Bo nods. "Yea. Mrs. Stevens said called roll," he tells her, proving just how observant he is. He clumsily takes her hand. "Bo."
Brooke giggles. "Your name's cute!"
"My name's cute!" Bo agrees, beaming. And thus is the start of their friendship.
Bo sits in the brown wood paneled room in silence. He can hear kids laughing and screaming down the hall and outside, but he doesn't feel like playing. He doesn't feel like doing anything. The lady at the desk out front said this was only temporary. Just until they find him a new home. A new family.
He takes out his little framed photo and stares at the smiling faces of his parents. He's glad he took it to show and tell today. It's all he has left of his mother. It's all he has left of his father. It's all he has left of a life that no longer exists.
He heard the police talking to the lady at the desk. A spark, they said. Maybe from the oven, they said. But all Bo cares about is that he got off the bus and his home wasn't where it was when he left for school. A pile of ashes and black debris was in its place.
Within a month, he's adopted. He moves across town, up town, to a more prosperous neighborhood. The people who took him home are called the Sanders. Bill Sanders is in banking. Lily Sanders stays at home and sells Avon. Bo Sanders starts at a new school.
And still he doesn't feel like doing much at all. He wants his dad to come take him home. He can't understand why his dad isn't there anymore. He knows what happened and he knows what that means, but he can't think about it; can't accept it. He just can't. He's stuck.
Then the teacher calls roll. "Brooke Muller."
She's sat at the back of the classroom, her hair still in those silly pigtails. He hasn't seen her in over a year, but she looks just like he remembers her. She smiles and waves at him and he thinks maybe God isn't so cruel after all.
Bo captains the Middle School Wrestling League team at his school. He's the youngest captain they've ever had. He's the big shot around school because he took down Don Reynolds, the school bully. He's only in seventh grade, but he's the big cheese, and he likes it.
Brooke started wearing tank tops last year. She wears her hair in a tight ponytail instead of pigtails and paints her nails. She's getting boobs and Bo isn't quite sure what to make of that. The other guys on Bo's team say Brooke is the hottest girl in school. Bo agrees, but he doesn't understand why they're all obsessed. For the first time, he begins to realize he's different from his friends. Again. Except this time he can't explain why.
It's the middle of the year, almost Christmas break, when he first sees Jimmy Myers. And then he can't forget him.
Bo's walking through the halls like he's the king of the world. People are moving out of his way. Then he hears someone's schoolbooks hit the ground and chortling. He glances over and there's this kid standing by the lockers, staring at the books on the ground like they're his heart and someone's stepped on it. His hair is short and curling, light colored. From where he stands, Bo can tell his eyes are light as well. He's thin; weak.
The chortling is from three members of the wrestling team. Tom, Sean, and David are standing in front of the kid, laughing their butts off. In an instant, Bo knows what's happened. As captain, it is his responsibility to keep his team in check, so he heads over to tell them off.
"Heard you've got no parents," Sean teases cruelly. "Must be nice."
"Well I heard he's living with an older woman," Tom cuts in. "Is she hot?"
"How's it feel to be an orphan?" David asks meanly.
The kid sniffles and bends to pick up his books without looking at his three tormentors. They laugh some more.
"Aw," David coos. "Poor wittle baby orphan. Do you miss your mommy and daddy?"
"You gonna cry, baby?" Sean sneers. "Stupid loser."
"What's there to cry about?" Tom asks with a shrug. "No rules. No bedtime. No nagging. I'd switch places with you in a heart-"
Bo punches the locker directly behind his teammates so hard it dents. His hand throbs from the action but he doesn't let it show. The noise startles his mates into turning around and the dent scares them. Or maybe it's the glare on Bo's face.
"Unacceptable," he hisses out and all them of them flinch. "I hope you weren't planning on sectionals, because you're off the team. Effective immediately."
All three of their pairs of eyes widen. "But Bo!" Tom half-shouts. Most of the kids in the hall are watching them but Bo doesn't care.
"Shut up," he orders darkly. "I don't want to hear it. You don't get to act like this and be on my team. Got it?" They all nod. "Good. Now scram before I break you."
They hurry away and the rest of the kids in the hall move on with their lives. Bo bends down next to the kid and picks up some loose papers scattered around. The kid stands up quickly and Bo follows suit.
"Sorry about that," Bo apologizes. "And I'm sorry about your parents. I'm Bo-"
"I know who you are," the boy interrupts thickly. He looks up at Bo, finally, with tears clinging to his lashes and the edges of his eyes. "Thanks, but just leave me alone," he states blandly before turning and walking away.
Bo blinks after him for several seconds. The warning bell sounds and Bo hurries to his class. It isn't until he's in his seat in class that he realizes he still has some of the kid's school papers in his hands. The name at the top of the page is "Jimmy Myers." Bo smiles.
"Nice to meet you," he whispers as Mr. Brian tries to teach him pre-algebra. Brooke next to him gives him a confused look, but Bo doesn't explain and she eventually turns back to class.
The next day he sees Jimmy sitting alone at lunch. He decides then to befriend Jimmy, because Jimmy reminds him of himself: after his father died and he didn't want to do anything. So he starts sitting with Jimmy at lunch. His first excuse for doing so is to give Jimmy back his papers, but then he never leaves. He talks about what he's been doing lately, his training with the team, his home life. He doesn't mention he's adopted and he wonders if Jimmy notices the way he doesn't call his parents 'mother' and 'father.' He's shocked at how much he really wants Jimmy to notice.
A week in, Jimmy finally answers back in conversation. "Aren't you supposed to sit with your team?" he asks, nodding his head to the large group around a table across the room. The people in the group are members of the wrestling team and their girlfriends; popular people. They aren't the most popular group in school, but they rank.
Bo only looks at them for a moment before facing Jimmy again. He shrugs. "They can take care of themselves," he says with a smile. A little smile grows on Jimmy's face and he looks grateful. Bo nods. "Can I have your roll?"
Jimmy laughs and Bo feels his insides flutter. He's happy but he can't explain why. And he wonders if he should ask Brooke about this feeling, but immediately thinks no. She's a girl and he's a boy. It's not the same thing.
Jimmy isn't sure if sneaking out of his sister's house is the best idea, but Bo assures him that everyone has to sneak out at some point or they aren't a man. He sneaks out at least once a month to attend parties at his teammates' houses.
So at eleven on a Sunday, Bo sneaks out of his adoptive parent's house and jogs to Jimmy's house. He's spent every other weekend at Jimmy's since they finally became friends. He picks up a pebble in the yard and bounces it off Jimmy's second floor window. A moment later, Jimmy shows up at the window and gives him a nervous smile before opening the window. He scales down the wall so skillfully that Bo wonders if Jimmy has really never done this before.
As soon as he hits the grass, they run across the yard and down the street. Bo leads him to a little lake in the city park. There's a path with a small wall and Bo walks on the wall with perfect balance while Jimmy takes the path below. It's a full moon and Bo thinks maybe this is sort of like a date.
"Bo?" Jimmy asks.
Bo looks down at his younger friend. "What?"
Jimmy stuffs his hands in his pockets and shrugs vaguely. "Nothing really. Just….have you ever….wanted to date someone?"
Bo stops walking without realizing it. Jimmy turns to face him with a curious look, but Bo can't think straight. It takes his mind a full ten seconds to reboot. "You mean, do I like anyone?" he asks. Jimmy nods, looking nervous, and Bo shrugs. "I don't know, I mean….All my mates have girlfriends, but I don't really want one."
"Same," Jimmy says. "But Brooke," he begins, but stops.
Bo feels something deep in his gut clench and drop. "You like Brooke," he states. The statement hurts more than he thought it would.
Jimmy shakes his head but doesn't speak. The silence carries on for several minutes and Bo feels it like a heavy weight on his shoulders. Jimmy doesn't look at him so Bo looks up at the moon.
"It's a full moon," he states, changing the subject.
Jimmy looks up too. "Maybe we'll see a werewolf."
Bo grins and then bends over a little with a laugh. "You're such a nerd, Jimbo."
He catches Jimmy's frown. "Yea…well," he flounders. Jimmy isn't good at fighting, with his fists or with his words. He's a book worm and an intellectual. He's nothing like Bo and Bo likes that. "You're such a jock."
Bo laughs again, jumping off the small wall. "Yep. I'm awesome," he compliments himself. He reaches over and places a hand on Jimmy's shoulder, drawing his gaze. "And I'll always be there to protect you."
It's dark, so Bo isn't sure he actually sees it, but he thinks Jimmy's cheeks turn pink.
They stay out until four, just walking and talking. Jimmy tells Bo about a new comic series he's reading and Bo pretends he isn't interested but Jimmy keeps talking and Bo listens to every word. By the time he's helping Jimmy back up into his bedroom, Bo thinks maybe there is someone he'd like to date. Because he's heard Brooke blab about guys at school she likes and this sounds like it: he feels super charged, like he could take on a whole wrestling team on his own and win; like he could run for days and never tire; and it's a happy, jittery energy. And as he heads to his own house, Bo already misses Jimmy's face. He can't wait for school to start. He doubts he'll even sleep.
They'll sneak out together, at least once a month, and go to parties and go on walks and go to midnight movies and just hang out. They've been friends for years, but Bo suddenly can't get enough. And Jimmy is still a nerd and Bo is still popular, but everyone knows they're practically inseparable and no one complains.
Bo can't believe high school's over.
It's Prom and Bo's standing in the darkened reception hall in a tux. Brooke is his date, since neither of them has anyone. Brooke did a week ago, until she found out he was cheating on her, so they went together instead. She's wearing a gorgeous red dress and Bo is certain she's the hottest thing in the room. A group of guys at the food table is staring at her while several girls along the wall are staring at Bo, so he supposes he must look good too.
The music is bump and grind music while the decorations are 'traditional prom' themed. Bo and Brooke stay on the dance floor for over an hour, dancing in the pit with the rest of the student body, before finally extricating themselves from the masses. Brooke leads Bo to the refreshment table and grabs a glass of punch for each of them.
"This is fun," Brooke comments loudly, to be heard over the music.
Bo nods and downs his whole glass in one go. He can feel the sweat beading at the back of his neck, and he's only felt this thirty after an intense training session. He's just grabbed a second glass when Brooke points across the room.
"Hey, it's Jimmy!" she cheers just loud enough to be heard. "I thought he wasn't coming."
Jimmy glances around the room until his eyes land on Bo and Brooke and then he hurries over. He's dressed in a traditional black and white tux with a black tie. Bo's never seen Jimmy in dress clothes, and he has to admit he likes what he sees.
After knowing Jimmy for six years, Bo can safely admit to himself that he likes Jimmy. In fact, he sometimes admits to himself that he loves Jimmy. He's never said it aloud, even alone in his room. But right now, Bo nearly lets the words spill from his mouth at the mere sight of Jimmy.
"Hey, Jimbo!" he greets with a bright smile.
Jimmy smiles nervously and adjusts his tie. "Hey."
Brooke smiles too in greeting. "I thought you said you weren't coming," she says.
Jimmy shrugs, his eyes drifting almost nervously between his two friends. "I thought it might be worth it," he explains vaguely as his eyes come to rest on Bo. "You clean up nice, jock boy," he teases with a grin.
The words are unexpected. Bo still isn't used to Jimmy's wit. Jimmy says he's learned from the best; from Bo. While he's happy about that, Bo is shocked every time he hears a smart ass comment.
"You too, loser," he responds smoothly. He holds the cup of punch out to Jimmy. "Thirsty?"
Jimmy looks relieved at the offer and takes the offered cup. "Yea, I'm so thirsty." He takes a big gulp. "Is it hot in here or is it me?"
Brooke laughs and Bo smiles. "It's kind of warm," Brooke agrees. "Do you have a date?" she asks.
Bo's smile fades. He hadn't thought of that. He isn't sure what he'll do if Jimmy came with a date. Jimmy has never shown interest in anyone really; at least no one that wasn't fictional, and definitely not in a romantic sense. It's part of the reason why Bo hasn't confessed yet: he has no idea of Jimmy's orientation.
Jimmy shakes his head and a part of Bo lightens as he lets out a quiet breath. "No," Jimmy says unnecessarily. "Just me."
"Don't know why," Bo says teasingly with a smile, "You're a catch."
It's obvious that Jimmy doesn't know what to do with the compliment, a joke or otherwise. His face is bright pink, the way only Jimmy blushes, and his mouth is hanging open as his mind tries to come up with a response. Brooke saves him the trouble by drawing his attention with a hand on his shoulder.
"There are quite a few girls over there that would love to dance with you," she tells him with a nod to the wall flowers. "Why don't you go say hi for a bit. We'll join you once we've caught our breaths."
"Uh, um, sure," Jimmy stutters. "Yeah, ok. See you," he waves and makes his way toward the chairs against the wall.
Bo watches him leave and thus doesn't see Brooke grinning lewdly at him. When he does, he takes a half step back, nervous. "What?"
Her grin widens. "You might get lucky tonight," she hints suggestively.
Bo's eyes widen and he holds up his hands. "I'm flattered, Brooke, but you're not my type."
She rolls her eyes. "I meant Jimmy!" she practically yells, and Bo glances around to see if anyone heard her. They didn't. There's no one around them right now. He turns back to Brooke.
"What are you talking about?"
She huffs. "Oh don't give me that, Mr. Big Shot. I've known you almost all your life. You think I hadn't noticed?" She shakes her head. "I've known for years about your crush on Jimmy."
Bo isn't sure his eyes could get any wider. "Oh," is all he manages. He wonders briefly if anyone else knows, if he's been that obvious, or if it's just Brooke. "Do you think Jimmy knows?"
Brooke shrugs. "I don't know," she says lightly, "but he was checking you out just now. He's definitely interested," she assures him.
At first, it doesn't register that there might be a chance. Then a tiny smile creeps onto Bo's face. Brooke sighs and he frowns. "What's the matter?"
She shakes her head a bit to clear his doubt. "All the good men are taken or gay," she complains. "It's too bad Jimmy bats for your team, or I'd totally snag him."
Bo lifts an eyebrow. "What, you wouldn't go for me if I was straight?" he asks as if offended.
Brooke scoffs. "Oh please. You're practically my brother. It'd be too weird."
She smiles at him and Bo feels it lift the corners of his mouth as well. "Come on," he says with a nod toward the dance floor. Jimmy's there with a short blonde girl in a green dress. They both look a bit out of place together. "I think Jimmy needs back up."
Later Bo thinks about that night and wonders about his 'coming out' to Brooke. He's heard terrible stories about guys that are shunned and mocked by old friends when they learn a guy is gay. He thinks he should've been worried when Brooke said she knew…but he wasn't. Perhaps, he thinks, it is because Brooke is right. They are like siblings, and siblings stick by you, so he didn't worry. He also thinks maybe things will change now that she's revealed she knows. But nothing does. Life goes on.
Now, as Brooke likes to tell him when they're alone, it's time to woo his man.
Bo and Jimmy attend the same college. They even share an apartment together just off campus. Jimmy sits around in hoodies and sweats reading comics or sci-fi novels in his spare time. Bo just wears the sweats and studies. Jimmy never studies because his brain is like a sponge and he remembers everything in a snap. Whenever neither of them is working, studying, or in school, they like to sit around and watch movies together. Sometimes Bo gets Jimmy to jog or work out with him, and he's put on a bit of muscle for it.
Bo's so in love by this point that he isn't sure he can handle life without Jimmy anymore. The thought scares him but he can't stop the way he feels. Jimmy still has no idea. Brooke calls every Saturday to chat, and every Saturday she tells him to fess up already. He always says it's easier said than done.
One Friday, halfway through their second semester, they go to a party thrown by one of Bo's teammates. Bo isn't the captain of this team, but he's next in line. The party is typical. The music is too loud and the drinks are too many and the room is too crowded. Everyone is dancing and drinking, no matter their age, and the living room made dance floor is swarmed in grinding, writhing bodies. Bo finds himself right next to Jimmy in the mix of people. He blames it on the alcohol, but he takes the chance.
So he turns only slightly to the side and suddenly he's front to back with Jimmy. Everyone has their hands up and Bo grazes his fingers against the backs of Jimmy's hands as his head comes up next to Jimmy's. The base pounds from the speakers and vibrates through Bo's body and he throws his hips forward. Jimmy looks back over his shoulder with wide eyes but seems to calm when he sees Bo behind him. And then suddenly they're in perfect sync, moving against one another with wonderful friction. Bo can feel his blood rushing through his veins, can hear Jimmy's heavy breathing over the pulsing music, can see the sweat beading on Jimmy's skin, and as his nose brushes through Jimmy's curly hair he smells his minty shampoo.
Now is not the time or place but Bo can't move away. He's glad for the large crowd hiding their actions but there's a pressure, a tension, and Bo can't deny the feeling much longer. He wants to throw Jimmy against the wall only three feet away, screw inhibitions, and give these people a real show. He wants to rip Jimmy's clothes off right then and there and run his fingers down his body, finding every sensitive spot that makes Jimmy writhe and moan, and just give them both over to passion until the morning light shines through and beyond.
He leans his head on Jimmy's shoulder and groans deep in his throat. His fingers curl in the back of Jimmy's Abercrombie shirt and he rolls his hips against Jimmy's backside. Jimmy's head falls back a bit as he lets out a low breath.
"We need to leave," Jimmy croaks just loud enough for Bo to hear. "Please."
It's nearly a beg and every muscle in Bo's body tenses in beautiful anticipation.
They barely make it through the door of their apartment and Bo pushes Jimmy against the wall and crushes their lips and hips together. "You've no idea how long I've wanted to do this," Bo breathes out.
Jimmy laughs airly. "I think I can imagine," he manages, his voice deeper and yet softer than Bo has ever heard it. It makes Bo's stomach do flips and the rest of the world disappears outside of Jimmy.
Bo touches Jimmy's face lightly before grabbing his stupid Abercrombie shirt. "This needs to come off now, or I'll rip it off."
Not much is said after that, but Bo does all the things he imagined on the dance floor and more. Jimmy is just as shy as ever, and yet bolder than Bo has ever known him to be. He's not sure how long they go at it, but he knows tonight is not enough. He's not sure he'll ever get enough of Jimmy. Especially when he licks Jimmy's inner thigh and Jimmy starts quoting his comics like cries to God. It sounds dorky but it's strangely erotic and Bo does it again and again to hear another line.
The moment the hats fly in the air, Bo knows he's made it. He's got a diploma in his hands and a beaming smile on his face and Jimmy at his side. They're both wearing ridiculous graduation robes but Bo still thinks Jimmy's the hottest person on the planet. Once they've left the auditorium, Bo pulls Jimmy to the side and plants a solid kiss on his lips. He feels Jimmy smile and kiss back and even after all these years, it still makes his stomach jitter with joy.
They go out to eat with Brooke, her boyfriend, her parents, Bo's adoptive parents, and Jimmy's sister Ellie. Brooke announces her engagement with a bright smile and a matching bright blush. Ellie congratulates them and lifts an eyebrow at Jimmy. She still thinks Bo is a phase that Jimmy will grow out of.
Bo's mother tells him later that she looked up places where gays can legally marry and asks him if he wants to pick a date. Bo blushes like a stop light. "Lily!" he gasps. "I haven't even asked him!"
She just looks at him innocently. "So when are you going to do it? I can take off work to film it, you know."
In that moment, Bo has two thoughts: how did he get adopted by crazies, and when is he going to do it?
It's after Brooke's wedding. She was gorgeous and elegant in a traditional white gown and veil and the ceremony went off without a hitch. At the reception, Bo takes Jimmy aside in the hall. He gets down on one knee and already Jimmy's eyes are wide. Once the question's been popped, Jimmy nearly passes out but he nods his head and Bo kisses him senseless. It's one of the happiest moments of his life.
And for the rest of their lives, through better and worse, they support each other. Ellie never really accepts Bo, but Bo's parents treat Jimmy like a second son and Brooke supports them. Things aren't always easy, but they're never truly bad, and what's important is that no matter what happens, they're happy. And Bo couldn't ask for more.